Sunday, September 1, 2013

Review: Smilla's Sense of Snow

Smilla Jaspersen, daughter of a Greenlandic mother and a Danish father, has never quite adjusted to life in Copenhagen. Raised in the skills of Arctic hunting and survival by her mother, Smilla spends her youth in North Greenland. At twelve she is moved to Copenhagen by her father, a wealthy and famous doctor. While Smilla has become a scientist, she has always longed for Greenland.

When a young neighbor dies from a fall off the apartment building's roof, Smilla knows that something is amiss. The boy is also a Greenlander. Smilla's investigations take her to sea and to the land of her youth. They uncover a conspiracy and secrets of great magnitude.

This is a complex novel with a deeply-hidden mystery. Smilla digs into events that show Danish willingness to exploit the resources of Greenland and Greenlanders. The fallen boy, Isaiah, becomes a symbol of the expendability of Greenlanders. Smilla is able to investigate the case because of her scientific training, but it will be the skills she learned in her youth that will be her salvation. Hoeg's world is a world filled with violence. Smilla's suspicion that she can't trust anyone is fulfilled. The faults of colonialism are laid bare.

Peter Hoeg, Smilla's Sense of Snow (Delta, 1995) ISBN: 0385315147 

No comments: