This story is translated from Danish. It’s a fast paced thriller with plenty of intrigue. The story starts with the death of a young boy in Copenhagen. The boy was known to Smilla is found dead and the verdict is that of accidental death. It is the main characters familiarity with snow and ice that underpins the entire story. It is her understanding of the variations in steps and movement through snow that starts her journey to understand the real reason for the boy’s death.
Sitting in the background of the story is the struggle that people have moving from one culture to another. In this instance it is the Greenlanders ability to adapt to and survive in Danish culture. Greenland is of course ruled by Denmark and therefore is in essence a colony of Denmark. The main character relives through flashbacks are sometimes subtle and other times overt discrimination that she has experienced throughout her life. This is combined with a stubborn determination that really never sees her stopping until she reaches the ultimate conclusion of the story.
There is great atmosphere in this story in fact the weather impinges hugely on the story. Inserting itself at every turn this really is a struggle against the elements. The book itself has been nominated for prizes and established the author Peter Høeg add and also of note in Denmark. This book was his third and in subsequent followed by another two. The book itself was made into a film in 1997 which I doubt would be able to grasp with all the complexities of the storyline. Perhaps I shouldn’t condemn the film without seeing it but in my experience it rarely live up to the tale is crafted by the author.
For those who enjoy a plotline with many twists and turns and indeed the sidelines it’s a great read. In fact it is almost unputdownable, if there is such a word. The main character Smilla is bound to annoy the reader points but ultimately follow her journey to uncover the truth lies behind the story.