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3.6 out of 5 stars
3.6 out of 5 stars
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on 9 February 2014
Really good read. Excellent service.
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on 19 April 2016
A good read and I would recommend it
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on 13 June 2001
There is so much in this novel I would ordinarily admire... There a number of potent themes dealt with in the novel, such as Smilla's exclusion and self-exclusion from Danish society, the contrasts drawn between Inuit and Danish culture with all the not-unexpected, but still valid comments on the superficiality and estrangement from nature of contemporary Western life... And there is Smilla herself who is a strong and individual voice throughout. But the book is well over-long, with the hyper-realism of detailed description being applied without seemingly) any real discrimination. The ending is a let-down too, and dare I say that this is one thriller where the genre's format doesn't really accomodate the more philosophical ramblings of the author? The plot simply isn't strong enough to bear the weight - for me at least...
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on 17 June 2012
.. .. .. I felt completely let down by the last paragraph which, to me, felt like a massive cop out. No-one else seems to have mentioned this in their reviews .. .. did I miss something? Have I, literally, lost the plot!!!!!

This was a more challenging read than the norm for me. Half way through I had to go back to the start & skim each page in order to pick out all the characters' names, note the relationships & draw a diagram to show all the linkages! I must admit to skating over some of the very detailed scientific content as it was the emotional aspects of the story that interested me more.

Having invested so much time in, & been so totally engrossed by the story & characters, I read on feverishly desperate to understand what it was they were seeking & the wider impact should they find it.

How was poor Isaiah entangled in it all?

After all this effort, to be left with so much hanging in the air .. .. did they or didn't they succeed; who survived; what happened to her relationship with the mechanic .. .. was a massive disappointment. I hate 'non-endings' like that even more so when I'd so enjoyed Smilla's intelligence & wit & was as determined as she was to get to the bottom of everything. That was the whole basis of the plot & yet I felt she never quite totally got there.
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on 30 January 2016
Great -as advertised. Thank you.
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on 14 July 2014
Excellent and unusual plot.
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on 24 December 2002
This novel can be read as interesting psychological thriller, if one ignores its flaws. The first half, or so, which is set in Copenhagen, is an interesting study of a woman who feels more of an affinity with the arctic environment than she does with people, which is the best element in this book.
This novel is flawed because the narrative tone moves towards popular thriller territory, such as the novels of Alistair MacLean, with the heavy use of strong action scenes to drive the plot, rather than psychological texture, as there is earlier, and the simple characterisations of the villains (whom one suspects, would be quite comfortable in a Bond film).
This is the main failing of this novel; others lie in the somewhat unnecessary, and possibly rather gratuitous use of violent scenes. One can understand the authors motives behind the use of these similes: the desire to invoke the nature of the arctic environment, and the relationships between it and the characters, and between the characters themselves (and possibly between these and the reader), however the use of these elements is a rather less than subtle narrative device; thus only three stars are awarded.
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on 3 August 2012
This book was recommended to me by a lady when it was first issued. She was very enthusiastic about it indeed, and usually crime fiction, particularly of the Scandinavian variety is SO my thing. I found this extremely hard going, to the point where I have never got past the first few chapters, despite frequent attempts down the years. It is not as if I have not given it the old college try, and I suppose it could have lost something in translation......but it was definitely not my cup of tea. I am a firm believer in giving anything a proper chance but I am afraid that Miss Smilla has used up her chances with me and I will not be giving her any more.
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on 22 March 1999
This is the type of book that you must keep reading. Not only because of the plot but also because it is very easy to get confused with the various characters, unless you have the time to read from cover to cover in one sitting. Smilla herself is an interesting character but I felt I couldn't really get to understand her. I'm sure that the main "feel" of the story is lost in the translation. Overall, though, I'm pleased I got the chance to read this book. It certainly gave me an insight into Greenlandic and Danish culture.
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on 29 August 2012
This book grabbed me so much to start with, it was moving, sophisticated, thought-provoking and had an interesting plot. Then about half way through, I suspect Hoeg indulged in some of the heroin which suddenly made an appearance, as the plot lurched into thriller with cardboard characters. Tedious, vastly disappointing, will never get back the hours spent finishing it. Ah well, at least it is probably the nearest thing I'll ever read to Fifty Shades of Grey!
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