1st Wed Reading Group August Discussion


Miss Smilla’s sense of snow by Peter Hoeg

This is a translated crime fiction written by an author from Danish.

In his first novel to be published in English, Danish author Hoeg offers readers a wonderfully original, elegantly crafted, ominously savage story. The plot is cryptically clever, beginning with the death of a six-year-old boy and ending with the discovery of an international smuggling ring. The pervasive violence–both to the body and to the soul–is recounted so matter-of-factly as to be doubly chilling, and the characters are as mesmerizing, as enigmatic, and as engrossing as any populating the pages of recent crime fiction. But perhaps Hoeg’s most wonderful invention is heroine Smilla Jaspersen, a rebellious, stubborn, tough, fearless Eskimo woman who’s spent most of her life in Copenhagen. She has an uncanny sense of direction, a love of Isaac Newton’s theories, and a gift for mathematics. She treasures her aloneness, successfully hiding her vulnerability under a near-impenetrable facade of aggressiveness–an aggressiveness that has caused her to be an outcast most of her life but that serves her well when she decides her six-year-old neighbor, Isaiah, did not die accidentally. Be forewarned that this is not an easy book to read. Its leaps and starts, from present to past to future, are confusing. Cryptic references and ambiguous, unexplained plot twists are often frustrating. But readers who persevere will be well rewarded. While the book may not appeal to mystery buffs looking only for pure entertainment, it is a must-read for serious fans of the genre. ((Reviewed July 1993)) — Emily Melton

The 1st Wednesday Reading Group enjoyed their discussion about this book.

A member who was from the country gave some very useful information about Greenland and the Inuits to the group. There are a lot problems facing the Inuits – similar to Australian Aborigines. Life expectancy of Inuits was about 35. It’s just too tough.

some said it is a controversial book.

some commented it is a social commentary, mystery and a fabulous book, well researched. It has a lot description of winter, and ice.

Some said although it was written in 1993, could be referred to 2008, quite comtemporary.

Some felt some confusion over characters, gender and an abrupt finish.

The group related this with the movie and thought it might appeal to a much winder audience.

Overall, members thought it was a wonderful read and will recommend it to others, along the line of Ian Rankin, Ruth Rendell.