Sunday, February 10, 2013

Book Challenge 2013: Smilla's Sense Of Snow

I am not counting this book for the "One Book A Month"-challenge for a couple of reason: First, I can barely make it through a winter season without reading this book. I've read it the first time when I was 14 or 15, and it has sucked me right in. One year, I believe it was 10th or 11th grade I managed to get this book on the reading-list for German class, to the dislike of my class-mates. Ok, I will not go into further detail but continue to present my favorite book:

The hard facts:

Title: Smilla's Sense Of Now
Author: Peter Høeg
512 pages
Publisher: Picador (2012)
ISBN: 978-1250002556

Find it on Amazon

The Story:

Jesaja, a little Inuit boy falls down a warehouse building; his motherly friend Smilla doesn’t believe in an accident and starts investigating on her own. She teams up with another of Jesaja’s adult friends, the “Mechanic” Peter Foejl. The deeper Smilla digs, the less sense everything makes: why is the Cryolite Company of Denmark paying a pension to Jesaja’s widow mother? Under which circumstances did his father die during an expedition to Greenland to explore cryolite mines? Why was Jesaja picked up for medical exams every month? How are the Inuit linguist Andreas Fine Licht, the physicians Johannes Loyen and Toerk Hvid, and a decoder named Katja Claussen involved in Jesaja’s death? After being threatened with prison and nearly arrested, Smilla escapes and manages to sign on the Kronos, an icebreaker bound for an unknown mission to Greenland. There, Smilla faces a hostile crew and more secrets on the boat deck. When the ship stops at an oil rig platform to re-fuel and Smilla tries to escape the ship, a fourth passenger enters the Kronos: the Mechanic. Returning on board, Smilla sneaks on the boat deck and learns about the Kronos’ destination: the barren Island Gela Alta. There, the Mechanic discovers her and arranges for her detainment for her own safety the next day. However, Smilla escapes and learns about the true mission of the passengers on board, among them Toerk Hvid and Katja Claussen: a third exploration to the Gela Alta glacier, which contains a mysterious meteoroid; two previous expeditions had been unsuccessful due to lethal accidents during the survey of the glacier and the cavern containing the meteoroid. The puzzle pieces finally fall into place as Smilla tries to prevent the recovery of the rock.
My opinion:
Sorry, I just can’t get myself to reveal the grand finale. As mentioned above, this book is my absolute favorite! Usually, I don’t read books more than once, but this one I have read more often than I remember; in English, in German, I would even like to learn Danish just to read this book in its original version. More often than not, “Smilla’s Sense of Snow” is on my reading list for long, cold winter days and nights; I believe I couldn’t read it during the summer since the cold outside just increases the mood in the book. Peter Høeg just manages to draw you in; while oftentimes, I read books by merely scanning the pages, I have to truly read “Smilla” carefully in order to not be lost in the detail. But still, this book does not contain any boring sections or holes in the story line but increases the suspense by each page, ending it in a bang after some 500+ pages that pass way too fast.

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