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Smilla's Sense of Snow Paperback – October 1, 1995
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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 alternate Paperback edition.
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 an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top customer reviews
I hope the writer has matured because he does have exceptional descriptive abilities.
What a shame! The beginning of the book is so captivating, and the character of Smilla is so interesting. But the ending just destroys the characters and their feelings. There is no growth in them and no development. They don't even eat, or sleep; they don't have sex; they are stuck in ice.
It is also worth noting that petite scientist Smilla is the angriest thriller protagonist I have ever encountered, once she gets going. She makes Dirty Harry look like Charlie Brown by comparison. The novel builds, methodically and with increasing speed, toward a thunderous climax.
As several readers have noted, the tinge of science fiction toward the end of the narrative seems extraneous and unnecessary, but the book is so strong in every other respect that I didn't mind at all.