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Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow Paperback – 4 Apr 1996


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Product details

  • Paperback: 416 pages
  • Publisher: Harvill; New Ed edition (4 April 1996)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1860461670
  • ISBN-13: 978-1860461675
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 2.6 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 26,684 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

"A subtle novel, yet direct, clever, wistful, unforgettable - Ruth Rendell, Daily Telegraph"

"Unusual and enveloping. Extraordinarily evocative, atmospheric and poetic - Sunday Times"

"On one level, both a whodunnit and a thriller - ingeniously plotted. Extremely hard to put down. Peter Høeg's novel is already making for classic status - Independent"

"Read Høeg's delicious, icy-cool, Scandinavian detective story while sunbathing on a Caribbean beach. We guarantee it will make you shiver." (Independent on Sunday, Greatest Holiday Reads Ever)

"An Arctic tale worthy of Conrad - New Statesman"

Book Description

A beautifully packaged reissue of this classic Scandinavian crime novel, to celebrate 21 years since its first UK publication

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Customer Reviews

3.6 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 37 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 25 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
The original, witty, intelligent, unconventional character of Smilla Jasperson is well drawn and quite unlike any other character I have ever met in life or fiction... and yet, given her background, she just could be real.
Apart from the wonderful Smilla, I was fascinated with the descriptions of Greenland, the people who survive in its hostile climate and its relationship with (a largely unsympathetic) Denmark.
There is also a very exciting and intricate plot which keeps you guessing until the end. Clues are introduced to the reader all the way through and because of this, it is not a book to pick up and put down over a long period of time. In fact I wish I could have had the time to read it in just one or two sessions. I also wish I had made notes on the various characters as they were introduced because you tend to forget where they came in: Partly due to the complex nature of the plot-weaving and partly the unfamiliar Scandinavian names.
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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful By Book 1981 on 21 Jan. 2010
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I loved this book for many reasons. The reluctant heroine Miss Smilla is sometimes charming and funny, sometimes touchingly honest, always very human and easy to identify with. The narration is precise and atmospheric, and the mixture of Greenland culture and Danish society is fascinating. The world through the eyes of the sometimes over-dramatic Smilla is a dark and hostile place, full of threats and tentative bonds with people which break too easily. Her relationship with the little boy is descibed with great tenderness and honesty, whic perfectly validates her heartbreak when he dies and her extreme actions following his death. Also, the sweet love story between Smilla and the mechanic adds softness and warmth in the middle of all the hostile chill.

My reservations relate to the plot mostly - It starts out very simply, the boy falls to his death from a roof, and when the police decide it is an accidental death, Smilla disagrees and decides to dig further. From then on the plot grows into a bit of a beast, all conspiracy theories and mad scientists. I feel like the book lost some of its beauty along with it's simplicity. Also, the 'baddies' aren't very strong characters, so in the middle of all the action I found it quite hard to tell them apart.

But mainly it is a very very good book, I was totally absorbed and would recommend it to everyone.
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37 of 38 people found the following review helpful By Sally-Anne on 3 April 2005
Format: Paperback
Peter Høeg's Smilla is a fairly unique sort of person. Her experiences have made her wise in the ways of snow and ice and cynical and distrustful of people. An Inuit upbringing in the cold climate of Greenland had ill-prepared her for the chilly atmosphere of Danish society when her father took her there after her mother died. At 37 she is single, solitary and unemployed - even though she's one of the world's leading experts on ice and snow. She has just one friend that she loves: a small boy, Isaiah, who is, like her, a Greenlander out of place in Denmark. When Isaiah falls to his death from a rooftop, Smilla knows it cannot have been a simple accident. She can read his footprints in the snow and she knew the child well. The authorities cannot be allowed to write it off as an accidental death so she sets out to discover what really happened.
The feeling of snow and ice: the cold, the motion and gradual stiffening of the sea, the changing quality of the light - are conveyed so that, with a little imagination, it's possible to feel it. I put on an extra jumper and turned the heating up a bit. The description of Smilla's journey from the desolation of the lonely city to the desolation of the ice fields west of Greenland generate strong visual and emotional impressions. The plot is quite complicated to follow and there are a few coincidences that might require the brief suspension of disbelief. It can also be rather a bumpy ride for an English speaking reader because of the many Danish and Greenlandic words and names that can slow you down as you try to puzzle out how they should be pronounced. Even so, it's a splendid book, full of tragic and colourful characters, most of them deeply or slightly flawed (even the goodies) but all of them interesting and plausible.
I highly recommend this book.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 23 Nov. 2001
Format: Paperback
Reading in the first person of a female greenlander was a refreshing change of perspective, but I didn't feel at any point like I was reading something alien to me. This book left me touched for weeks after finishing it, and I was captivated until the very end. I'd strongly recomend it to anyone who enjoys engaging with a text, as opposed to letting one wash over them like so many of todays novels. Excellent.
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By Mrs. A. C. Whiteley VINE VOICE on 21 Oct. 2003
Format: Paperback
As one other reviewer has commented, it does take about 200 pages or so to pick up the various strands which constitute the thread of narrative in this marvellous book.
Until I read this novel, I had never considered the multifacetedness of snow and ice. A multifacetnedness, moreover, which is reflected in the nature of our hero, Miss Smilla Jaspersen, by turns kind, generous, giving, understanding, gritty, determined, forthwright, violent, gentle, humorous, intelligent etc etc. She is wholly unique, and just fabulous.
To summarise this as a murder mystery or crime thriller is to do it a severe injustice. So much wisdom is here, so much raw human nature, that it is possible to become a little overwhelmed by it. However, Hoeg steers you through it all, as competently as a seasoned sea captain. And, despite its occasional brutality, on is left with an extraordinary sense of beauty and conscious of the value of human life. We should reflect on these more often, Hoeg appears to be saying, and I cannot help but agree.
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