Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg (7/81)

Category: Crime and Detectives (with a global theme)
Country: Denmark and Greenland

To make my Crime and Detectives category a bit more challenging this year, I decided to give it a global theme, so rather than reading several books in a series by the same author, each book in this category will have a different setting. The first book actually has two setting, Copenhagen in Denmark and Greenland.

A young boy falls from the roof of his apartment building and his death is ruled accidental, but his neighbour, Smilla doesn’t believe it and sets about investigating. Although solving this mystery is very much Smilla’s goal, just as important to the book is the uncomfortable position of Greenlanders in Danish society and the conflict between Inuit and European cultures.

The first part of the book, set in Copenhagen, moves at a slow pace, but is well-written and allows us to get to know the difficult character of Smilla, as well as giving much fascinating information on Greenland. For all its slowness, I really enjoyed this part of the novel, but unfortunately after around 260 pages the tone changes completely. Smilla ends up on board a ship bound for Greenland and the book becomes more of a traditional thriller. Unfortunately, I didn’t find it particularly thrilling, it seemed implausible and it lost the charm of the first part of the book.

So I’m left with mixed feelings about this book. I loved the first part and was decidedly unimpressed with the second part. I'm glad I read it but was pleased when it was finished.

No comments: