Sunday, October 28, 2007

Smilla's Sense of the Familiar

I just added Smilla's Sense of Snow by Peter Hoeg to my "Books Read in 2007" list. I've always wondered if any Scandanavians suffer from the dark and cold. We're made to feel that they take in their somewhat harsh surroundings with equanimity, or at least stoicism. This book's heroine, however, both suffers from depression and has a passion for snow and ice. Reading about her cheered me considerably.


cK said...

Other Scandi works to consider:
* Dr. Glas by Hjalmar Soderberg
* The 10-book Martin Beck series by Maj Sjowall and Per Wahloo (cracking-good mysteries that also document changes in Swedish society over a 10-year period, 1964-1974)
* Kerstin Ekman's Under the Snow or Blackwater. The former is set WAY north in Sweden.
* An Icelandic author: Arnaldur Indridason. Jar City is neat...and bleak.

Night Editor said...

And also the locally published Per Petterson novel, "Out Stealing Horses." Norwegian novelist Petterson "coaxes out of [protagonist] Trond's reticent, deliberate narration a story as vast as the Norwegian tundra" (from Publishers Weekly).

Boomer said...

Oh no! I am trying to clean out my bookshelves and you people are making me want to fill them up more.

I have a vague memory of a movie, Smilla's Sense of Snow, but I can't remember what happens.

Hybrid Fat-n-Sassy said...

There's also Independent People, by Halldor Laxness. I think Milkweed brought out a US edition some years ago. It was published in 1934 but you know for me that's very up-to-date.

Sassmaster said...

I appreciate your recommendations, but are any of them about clinically depressed people? That was the draw for "Smilla." I like the people who are as oppressed by the cold and dark as I am.

Night Editor said...

The Petterson novel involves cruelty, loss, bitterness, and brooding, but it seems that the characters actually like the dark and cold.

cK said...

I think you'll find that if you read about in Scandinavian literature everyone is quite depressed.

And if you want the real deal, maybe I can get some friends in Sweden to correspond with you during the winter. You human suffering? I'll get Ingrid to send a note from Skanor after a few months of darkness!