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Miss Smillas Feeling For Snow

by
3.72  ·  Rating Details  ·  27,631 Ratings  ·  1,548 Reviews
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 neighbor 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. ...more
Paperback, 410 pages
Published 1994 by Flamingo (first published 1992)
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The Snow Child by Eowyn IveyA Christmas Carol by Charles DickensThe Snow Queen by Hans Christian AndersenDark Matter by Michelle PaverThe Winter of Our Discontent by John Steinbeck
Book Vipers' Winter/Christmas Challenge Booklist
6th out of 179 books — 47 voters
The Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanSea by Heidi R. KlingPride and Prejudice by Jane AustenThe Phantom Tollbooth by Norton JusterMiss Smillas Feeling For Snow by Peter Høeg
Turquoise Books
5th out of 201 books — 62 voters


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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Paul Bryant
Nov 23, 2012 Paul Bryant rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: novels
Miss Smilla and her cast of characters were so quirky that after 100 pages I found all this quirk over the front of my shirt, all over the dining table (well, I call it a dining table) and stuck between the keys on my keyboard. Had to get it out with a Swiss Army knife, once it had dried. Sent a sample off to the lab and the results came back "two parts David Lynch, three parts frankly unbelievable heroine, three parts uninvolving plot which moves at the speed of an exhausted glacier". As I thou ...more
Carolina
Aug 05, 2007 Carolina rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: glaciologists. or anybody who likes an intriguing, well-written story.
Smilla is, I think, my hands-down favourite fictional character. Which makes it easy for me to keep returning to this book. It's a translation from Danish (by Tiina Nunnally) and beautiful and technical and never sentimental, and it touches on issues I find particularly interesting such as European culture versus aboriginal culture (in this case Danish vs. Greenlandic) and the related issues of language and identity. Peter Hoeg has a mind that is both scientific and whimsical and I find that par ...more
Larissa
It took me two months to finish this book and not until the last three weeks and 150 pages of that endeavor did I realize that it is actually quite terrible. It's been quite awhile since I've felt so cheated, nay--betrayed--by a novel. Because when you begin this book it is primarily concerned with the slow unfolding of character. You are tied to the titular Miss Smilla and her cynical absolutist world view. It doesn't take long to figure out that she has no interest in providing you with a fair ...more
Josh
Apr 16, 2008 Josh rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After an initially over-enthusiastic 5 stars (which prompted consternation from some parties!) and then a too-sober 3 stars, I'm settling on four stars for this intelligent, brooding, minutely researched, acutely observed thriller. I think I wanted to give it five stars for two reasons: I read some negative reviews on this very webpage, and, finding them idiotic, wanted to vindicate this novel. I also cannot get out of my head the image of the Swiss German cook Urs using a freshly baked, burning ...more
Sean
Jun 26, 2007 Sean rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who wonder what it's like to have a feeling for snow and ice
Smilla, half Kalaallit, half Dane, is taciturn and withdrawn—a wounded child grown into a dark, silent, often bitter woman. But she opens her heart to Isaiah, a young boy whom life has also wounded. When Isaiah dies, falling several stories from the snow-covered roof of a warehouse, she is forced out of her comfortable isolation to ask questions. Why had he climbed the scaffolding to play on the warehouse roof when he was terrified of heights? Why do his tracks go straight off the edge if he was ...more
Virtuella
Jul 19, 2013 Virtuella rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Book Review, Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow

I've been wanting to read this book for over two decades and was glad when I finally got my hands on it. I expected great things of it, not the least because it had been recommended, back at school, by my beloved and sadly deceased teacher. I really, really wanted to like it.

I did like it for about the first hundred pages or so. The tenderness of the relationship between Smilla and the little boy, her memories of her mother, that was interesting. Then i
...more
emily
Mar 13, 2010 emily rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I feel like everyone I know (even my doctor, who spotted it poking out of my bag) loved this book. And I just don't get it.

Smilla makes me think of Lisbeth Salander, who was the reason I hated "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo," and I think the two books have a lot in common. They're both, at their cores, books which say "this woman is real weird and kind of unpleasant and seems like she might not bathe frequently, but everyone who meets her thinks, 'damn, you's one cool chick.'" Why do they thin
...more
Andrew Nixon
Jul 02, 2008 Andrew Nixon rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves:
Complex characters, dizzying plot, starkly beautiful language, and tremendous psychological insights.
El
This was the third book I took with me for the Second Annual Cat-Sitting event at my brother's place. He has the unfortunate luck of having his birthday in the middle of August, the hottest time of the year, and he goes off to have adventures with his lady-friend, giving me the opportunity to sit in his very hot house that does not have air conditioning to keep an eye on his cats, take advantage of his streaming Netflix, and read until my eyes bleed.

Last year one of the books I took with me was
...more
Harry
It's the first decade of the 21st century. A chill, icy wind blows in from the North, carrying with it a sociopolitical narrative of lands British and American observers have long idealized as incorporating the social democratic ideal. The icy wind that hits American shores howls through us, unprepared as we are, and dismantles one by one our precious concept of a world region that we have lazily lumped together into a bucket named Scandinavia.

We shiver.

This first decade of a new century has br
...more
Tynan Power
Sep 03, 2007 Tynan Power rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I picked up this book for free, because it was a title I knew I'd heard. Once I started reading it, I was initially put off by the narrator/protagonist, Smilla, whose tone is aloof, cool, self-absorbed. I was also put off by realizing it is a mystery that borders on "thriller"...not my usual preferred genre.

However, I found myself drawn back to the book until I became engrossed in the story. About halfway through the book, I started underlining passages, turns of phrase that I liked, observation
...more
Jan-Maat
Mar 22, 2014 Jan-Maat added it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: People who like overly complicated thrillers
Smilla's Sense of Snow wasn't what I was expecting. It was not so bad a book that I could fairly say that I was disappointed but I wasn't left satisfied after the reading experience either.

First off the hero of the story is a half Greenlander who thinks back on her Greenland heritage. Her knowledge of snow and ice, acquired in childhood, are important to the plot, but this is a book written by a Dane. Once we get into the exploration of issues around colonialism then it starts to feel a little c
...more
Jeff
Aug 18, 2014 Jeff rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before I visited Europe, my friends would all tell me to visit Copenhagen. They said that it’s one of the most beautiful European cities and the Danes are the friendliest people in Europe. Well, not in this book. Copenhagen is a dark, cold and corrupt place and the Danes, a shifty, secretive and lethal bunch.

Enter Smilla, one of the more interesting protagonists I’ve come across, who is half Danish and half Inuit. Here lies the dichotomy of her character: she’s never truly comfortable with who s
...more
Margitte
It was an intense read. It had me confused from time to time. The emotional apathy and disconnection of the characters confused me here and there. For instance, people want to kill each others and then sit out on the deck of a ship and smoke a cigarette together.

The death of a little boy had an emotionally-challenged woman, Miss Smilla, who knew everything about snow and ice, start asking questions. In the process she unknowingly opens up a can of worms...Yes, definitely worms...

It was not a hi
...more
Stanka
Jan 28, 2008 Stanka rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Women who like to read about tough women
I first saw the film. You couldn't find it in the video store under "Smilla" because it was translated (into Serbian) as "Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow." No, this is not Serbian originality: the British translation is the one with "feeling", the US one is "sensible." But it's the same book.
I guess I never knew that Greenland was a Danish province, or shall we say, a colony. So here is a book that draws together a number of interesting threads: murder mystery, post-colonialism, immigration, scie
...more
Thomas
Ένα ακόμη βιβλίο που μου πόνεσε το κεφάλι. Ο μόνος λόγος που το τελείωσα είναι επειδή το θέμα του μου τράβηξε το ενδιαφέρον. Η όλη εκτέλεση της πλοκής ήταν τρομερά βαρετή και οι χαρακτήρες μου φάνηκαν όλοι ανεξαιρέτως αδιάφοροι. Ο συγγραφέας σε πολλά σημεία υπερανέλυε χωρίς ουσία και ενώ το βιβλίο είναι γραμμένο σε πρώτο πρόσωπο, ένιωθα φορές πως μιλούσε ο συγγραφέας και όχι η πρωταγωνίστρια. Μακριά.
Fabian
May 15, 2016 Fabian rated it liked it
This is a peculiar read. Yes, it (kinda) defies convention (the protagonist, Smilla Jaspersen is a breath of fresh air and the way she deals with depression and inner demons in a place that simply screams KILL YOURSELF! is both invigorating and poetic) but it is exactly its unpredictability that juxtaposes reader's feelings and reading styles... so much so that not everything matches up evenly at the end. The squirts of poetry and metaphysics in a story that is all intuition on the part of the o ...more
Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated"
Dec 10, 2015 Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated" rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Kirsten *Dogs Welcome - People Tolerated" by: 1994 Silver Dagger Award winner
An excellent and intelligent thriller. Set in Denmark and Greenland, you should probably make sure you are wearing your kamiks!

This is the second of the author's books I've read, the first being The Quiet Girl. I think I would really have enjoyed listening to this one, as I'm never sure how to pronounce all those words with the O's with the lines through them.

Also, I did have a little problem following all the names and characters. I'm sure I missed some detail or other.

It was a wonderful thrill
...more
Raselius
May 17, 2009 Raselius rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is one of my favourite exciting stories to read. Once you get in to it it is hard to stop reading. Everytime I read it I discover something new. It starts out with just a small event in Denmark - a boy have died in an accident. But one of the neighbours, Smilla from Greenland refuses to buy the police explanation and sets out on a quest to find the truth about her friend. Because Smilla is from Greenland she knows all these things about snow that the police and most of the rest of us don't ...more
Manny
This cult classic has a lot of things going for it. Miss Smilla is a stylish, engaging heroine with terrific dress sense, dark wit, courage under fire and fluency in Greenlandic. (I believe it's West Greenlandic if you care about that kind of thing). At one point, she performs an imaginative sex act that I've never seen described in any other place. There's a brooding sense of menace and a weird conspiracy that gradually comes together...

I don't know why I'm so bothered by the fact that the stor
...more
Kalliope
Found this sorting out my stored books... Don't remember a thing... So, I guess it was a 2-star.
Stevie O'Connor
May 26, 2016 Stevie O'Connor rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superb psychological/conspiracy theory thriller. Peter Hoeg manages to keep the first person narrative of Miss Smilla realistic, whilst keeping up the clever suspense of a search for what happened to a child against the backdrop of modern life in Copenhagen and Danish post-colonialism.
But for me, the beauty of the book lies in his descriptions of ice and snow in Greenland. His characters are strange and beautifully flawed and Miss Smilla is outstanding as the brave, bewildered but ultimately
...more
K.D. Absolutely
Oct 08, 2012 K.D. Absolutely rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books (Thrillers); 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Shelves: 1001-core, thriller
Interesting read. My first time to read a book from Denmark and originally written in Danish. My first time to read some facts about Greenland and the Arctic Circle. My first time to learn many things about snow. Oh snow! I have not seen snow-covered ground. Neither have I seen snow falling from the sky. This book made me want to go to Greenland and learn all the things Smilla Jasperson knows and senses about snow.

The story is about Smilla, who is half-Danish (father) and half-Greenlander (mothe
...more
Michelle
Aug 04, 2013 Michelle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh my, this book is bad. The premise is an interesting enough hook - a boy has fallen off a snow laden roof. The police file it as an accident, but Smilla, with an extraordinary feeling for snow, thinks not. Smilla's intuition that a banal letter found in the boy's apartment about his mother's pension might hold a clue to the boy's death leads her to Elsa Lubing, signee of the letter. Elsa gives Smilla the key and secret code that allow her to break into the Cryolite Corporation's archives holdi ...more
Ellie
This is a wonderful book: every word seems to take you further out into a lonely arctic waste or closer to the edge of a tilting roof. This is my favorite of Hoeg's books-an I love them all. Mostly for the way he tilts the world slightly, uncovering a whole new dimension of experiencing the world. I feel cold when I read him-the place but also the loneliness, iciness even of the people. Both slightly tragic,and very brave.
Lori
May 25, 2011 Lori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book came up on my status update, and I noticed I had given it 3 stars. I'm raising it to 4, because even tho I read it so long ago, I remember Smilla. And all the different types of snow, altho I couldn't tell you the exact words. (Here in the US there's only the word snow, whereas Inuits have many different words to specify the type of snow. I found that fascinating.)

I remember getting completely engrossed, so between that and the fact that the book still lingers in my mind decades later,
...more
Chris
Smilla's Sense of Snow is a vast and challenging book. It's challenging because the main character, Smilla, resists every attempt that the reader makes to like her. She is totally unapolgetic. And that is wonderful. The book also makes use of setting. Hoeg transmits the feeling of Cophenhague. There is also a good sense of character and family struture. The book seems to lose steam slightly once the setting shifts to the boat. Still, this is a good read.
Michael
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dem
May 22, 2012 Dem rated it did not like it
Miss Smillas Feeling for Snow is an utterly bizarre and strange novel.

"The Novel is set in Copenhagen where six year old Isaiah falls to his death from city rooftop. The police pronounce it an accident. But Isaiah's neighbour Smilla suspects murder. She embarks on a dangerous quest to find the truth, following a path of clues as clear to her as footsteps in the snow"

I found this novel such a drag as the plot was boring and really did not like or care about the character of Smilla, I really foun
...more
Fil
Libro freddo, gelido. Molti lo odieranno. Qualcuno non lo finirà neppure. A me, escluso il finale, è piaciuto.

Questo è il classico libro che si ama o si odia. Temo che i 4/5 delle persone lo odieranno. È un thriller, ma gli amanti del thriller lo detesteranno per la sua lentezza.

È un libro introspettivo. Smilla ed il suo carattere vengono descritti in maniera profonda. È una persona solitaria, riflessiva, fredda, sull'orlo della depressione.
Chi ama i libri introspettivi odiera' questo romanzo.
...more
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Peter Høeg was born in Copenhagen, Denmark. Before becoming a writer, he worked variously as a sailor, ballet dancer, and actor. He published his first novel, A History of Danish Dreams (1988), to positive reviews. However, it was Smilla’s Sense of Snow (1992), a million-copy best seller, that earned Høeg immediate and international literary celebrity. His books have been published in more than th ...more
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