Why did I love this book?
I have reread this novel several times since I discovered it in the 1990s, and it continues to surprise and thrill me. Smilla Jasperson is the most original heroine I’ve ever come across. Rude, tortured, brilliant, philosophical, strong, vulnerable—she is half Greenlandic Inuit/half Danish, and her heart has been broken by the loss of both mother and country. At the start of the novel it is broken again when a young, neglected boy, she’d finally allowed herself to love, dies. The authorities claim it’s accidental but Smilla immediately knows, because she understands snow, that he has been killed. The plot follows her investigation and extraction of justice—in all its raw violence. Smilla verges on the superheroic, but somehow Peter Høeg made me believe in her completely.