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Smilla's Sense of Snow Paperback – Mar 13 2001

3.7 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews

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Paperback, Mar 13 2001
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 480 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday Canada (March 13 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385658184
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385658188
  • Product Dimensions: 13.8 x 2.5 x 21.6 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 544 g
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars 140 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #676,763 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Amazon

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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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
This book doesn't have a genre. It's just literature, and it's good literature. Sometimes it seems to be the general opinion that if a book is entertaining it cannot possibly be a work of art. "Smilla's Sense Of Snow" is another book that proves it to be wrong.
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.
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Format: Mass Market Paperback
I read this book 3 or 4 years ago, and it has been one of my all-time favourites since then. I find it extremely interesting to note the wide range of ratings the book gets from you customers. But this was only to be expected, because Smilla is not an easy book to read. Since the movie people seem to have mistaken the book for an easily read thriller, which it definitely is not. Smilla is a book that makes demands on the reader. One has to read it word by word, sentence by sentence and many times I've backed a page or two in order not to miss anything. Don't focus too much on the plot, it's really not that important. The beauty of the book lies in the author's style and his rather objective approach to the characters of the story. Forget about the movie. Give yourself plenty of time, peace and quiet. Read the words, the sentences, not the story. Let the ominous and mysterious moods develop around you and the characters in the book grow with each sentence. Then I guarantee you'll have a fantastic reading experience
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Format: Paperback
Smilla's Sense of Snow is an intelligent and fast-paced mystery. Although the many subplots and diversions are all ultimately tied to the main plot, they are, at times, quite confusing.
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.
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Format: Paperback
This is not your typical mystery where there's blood and gore ~~ this is a mystery where there is a dead body that leaves a trail of clues for Smilla to find and a cliffhanger of a book that leaves you wanting more. It is superby written and translated very well ~~ I enjoyed Hoeg's descriptions of snow, ice and the studies of glaciers. I was left reaching for my blankets at night whenever I picked up this book ~~ it's so cold and so impersonal in the Artic! Smilla's neighbor Isiah was found in the snow dead. And Smilla thought there was something fishy about his death ~~ for one thing, the boy was terrified of heights. And there were other clues as well ~~ that lead Smilla on a terrifying chase for the truth. She didn't intend to play detective ~~ but she didn't trust the police in Denmark either, especially since Isiah was a Greenlander. I must say, if you need to read this book, read it on a hot, sweltering day. Don't read it in the wintertime as you'll never look at snow the same way! And I would recommend this book as a good mystery read ~~ but it's not your typical mystery either. It goes much further than that ~~ combine a good story with a good mystery and good writing ~~ you have a book that is enjoyable in every way!!
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