Books / Culture

The Smilla Man Gets His Feeling Back

More than twenty years after the publication of Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow, Peter Høeg has returned to form

Michael Berlins

In 1992 Peter Høeg’s Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow sold millions of copies and was hailed as a key novel in the movement that became Nordic Noir. Høeg has written a few books since, but none than made much of an impact.

The Susan Effect introduces an eccentric mix of characters headed by its ultra-bright narrator, Susan Svendson, who has the power to make people tell her their most intimate secrets. However, she has been charged with intent to kill; her son is an antiques smuggler and his twin sister has run away with a priest. All her problems will vanish if she uses her powers to uncover the contents of a secret report.

Høeg is serious but also funny, intelligent, ridiculous, preachy, wise, incomprehensible, surreal and persuasive. It’s very readable.

Michael Berlins is a book critic for The Times


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