Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow – Peter Hoeg (translated by Felicity David)
Venue: Crowd of Favours
MISS SIMILLA’S FEELING FOR SNOW
It happened in the Copenhagen snow. A six-year-old boy, a Greenlander like Smilla, fell to his death from the top of his apartment building. While the boy’s body is still warm, the police pronounce his death an accident. But Smilla knows her young neighbour didn’t fall from the roof on his own. Soon she is following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow. For her dead neighbour, and for herself, she must embark on a harrowing journey of lies, revelation and violence that will take her back to the world of ice and snow from which she comes, where an explosive secret waits beneath the ice…
Straight into the discussion this month as we talked about whether a man can write effectively as a female narrator. The general feeling was yes but we did wonder whether that was because the translation was so good and if the characterisation of Smilla was equally as good in its native Danish. We did agree that she does come across complete as a person and a character.
We then asked if any scientific understanding enhances the enjoyment of the book. Mostly because I didn’t understand the science bits and so found the book hard to read. Everyone else loved those parts with some exploring further after reading.
For some reason we questioned Smilla’s sense of direction which led to a lovely story of Helen not being able to find her way out of the toilets in a shopping mall. I love book club!
We then moved onto the cultural divide of Greenland versus Denmark and how it’s not often you see something written from a Greenlandic point of view discussing how this affects our characters.
Going onto then what seems to be a new part of Outlaws – discussing the film adaption as so many of our choices seem to have been made into movies lately. As usual it seems to have been Americanised with the ending completely re-written so there is a definitive finish rather than the books ambiguous ending. We agreed we found the book ending more refreshing and liked the idea of the reader drawing their own conclusions of what happened to the characters.
Also why was Jim Broadbent in the film?? Not your typical Scandinavian actor. Although we agreed he’d be a better choice for The Mechanic than the actual one of Gabriel Byrne. Speaking of which – discussing the Mechanic we wondered why no one was ever happy in a Scandinavian novel.
We enjoyed the writing style commenting on the choice of words used in the translation and how they flowed really well. A good mix of some Danish and German words thrown in. We liked the alternate theory of why dinosaurs died out – being attacked by parasites although it would be difficult to prove.