Smilla's Sense of Snow Paperback – Mar 13 2001
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In this international bestseller, Peter Høeg successfully combines the pleasures of literary fiction with those of the thriller. Smilla Jaspersen, half Danish, half Greenlander, attempts to understand the death of a small boy who falls from the roof of her apartment building. Her childhood in Greenland gives her an appreciation for the complex structures of snow, and when she notices that the boy's footprints show he ran to his death, she decides to find out who was chasing him. As she attempts to solve the mystery, she uncovers a series of conspiracies and cover-ups and quickly realizes that she can trust nobody. Her investigation takes her from the streets of Copenhagen to an icebound island off the coast of Greenland. What she finds there has implications far beyond the death of a single child. The unusual setting, gripping plot, and compelling central character add up to one of the most fascinating and literate thrillers of recent years. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
The title of this quiet, absorbing suspense novel by a Danish author only suggests the intriguing story it tells. After young Isaiah Christiansen falls from a snow-covered roof in present-day Copenhagen, something about his lone rooftop tracks--and the fact that the boy had a fear of heights--obsesses Smilla Qaavigaaq Jaspersen, a woman who had befriended him. Smilla is 37, unmarried, and, like Isaiah, part of Denmark's small Eskimo/Greenlander community. She is also a minor Danish authority on the properties and classification of ice. Her search for what had frightened the boy leads her to uncover information about his father's mysterious death on a secret expedition to Greenland, a mission funded by a powerful Danish corporation involved in a strange conspiracy stretching back to WW II. As related in Smilla's sober, no-nonsense narration, the plot acquires credibility even as its details become more bizarre. While the novel will probably be compared to Gorky Park , Hoeg has much more to offer, both in terms of his impeccable literary style and in the glimpses he provides of an utterly foreign culture. Its chief virtue, however, is the narrator: Smilla is never less than believable in her contradictions--caustic, caring, thoughtful, impulsive, determined and above all, rebellious. Smoothly translated by Nunnally, this is Hoeg's third novel, but the first to appear in English. A dark, taut, compelling story, it's a real find. 40,000 first printing; $50,000 ad/promo; BOMC selection.
Copyright 1993 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
The most surprising thing about the book is its genuine feeling, its incredibly surreal and yet exquisitely natural flow. Nowadays most authors feel the need to set a fast pace so that the reader doesn't get bored. And, indeed, people have learned to hurry. "Smilla's Sense Of Snow", however, allows one to look around, actually experience things, not just rush through them. The book seems strangely dreamlike, reading it is a lot like moving through water - you are awed by the alternate world that can be found underwater, and you cannot move swiftly, and after some time you learn to understand the water and appreciate the beauty of simply being.
When it comes to women, literature is full of clichés. Peter Hoeg's Smilla is certainly not one of them; she is original to say the least. Still, the essence of woman is there. One cannot help but wonder at the way a man has been able to create a woman who's very unlike most women in literature (or life, indeed) so perfectly that she doesn't need to be feminine to convince the reader she is one, even when the reader happens to be female.
"Smilla's Sense Of Snow" is a fascinating book. Books such as this one are rare nowadays.
I thought the character of Smilla Jasperson was quite well-drawn, although she sometimes accomplished physical feats the seemed impossible. I didn't particularly like Smilla, but I did find her both memorable and unique. Sadly, the character of the mechanic, who was quite fascinating, was terribly sketchy. In my opinion, this book would have benifitted greatly had the mechanic been more fully fleshed-out.
Personally, I enjoyed reading all the details of the snow and ice, but there were so many of them I think some readers were no doubt bored with it all and probably began skimming over them. This would have been a mistake because, to some extent, it was necessary to understand these details in order to understand the book.
I've noticed that many readers had problems with the ending of this book. I didn't. I thought the ending fit the story perfectly. It was quite complicated and would have been confusing to anyone who wasn't following the story carefuly, but it was perfect.
For me, the most annoying thing about this book was the translation. I found many words used out of context and worse, meaningless phrases and sentence fragments thrown in here and there. It was quite annoying. The author is such a skilled and intelligent writer, I can't believe this was done deliberately in the original Danish.
If you like classy, intelligent thrillers and are willing to absorb a wealth of detail, you're sure to love this book. Readers looking for something light and relaxing should probably skip this one...at least for now.
Most recent customer reviews
This was a MAJOR disappointment. Firstly - Smilla as the narrator just blabs on and on. We are taken back and forth, attempting to follow her train of thought. Read morePublished 19 months ago by Lynne Frappier
Saw the film a long time ago, and it haunted me.
Bought the VCR version about a year ago, and watched it a couple of times.
It was as good as I remembered. Read more
The negative reviews on this book say more about those readers than the book itself: the reader's pleasure in this thriller IS in the intellectual guessing. Read morePublished on Jan. 3 2004 by M. Cottafavi
To understand what is going in this novel you have to read every line of every page from the first page to the last page without blinking. Read morePublished on June 4 2002 by M. Tomlins
It was a cold, bleak November day. The noiseless, lackluster streets of Copenhagen lie covered in blankets of freshly-fallen snow. Read morePublished on April 29 2002 by Corinne Tolbert
Smilla's seems to be the only person who realizes that the death of a young boy is not an accident, and she persues the truth relentlessly, and I mean relentlessly, until she... Read morePublished on March 5 2002 by Susan E. Hallander
I felt the book began well with the first few chapters,
but the middle 400 plus pages dragged on, and really did
not have any "technothriller" or mystery... Read more
When I have started reading this book Smilla's Sense of Snow I really thought it would be interesting...I thought wrong. Read morePublished on Jan. 31 2002 by StarbucksQueen101
There was a time back in the mid 90s when this book first came out in paperback when I couldn't seem to go anywhere without running into a colleague who was reading this book. Read morePublished on Jan. 23 2002