It seemed only fitting that, for Bad Kelly’s last book club, we were blessed with stinking hot sunshine and a table outside on the beautiful balcony at Lacustre.
Our book choice seemed a little out of place, given the meteorological situation, however, there we were, talking about Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow by Peter Høeg.
Much like Marmite, this book divided people which was reflected in its average score of 6. There were a couple of 9s counterbalanced by some 3s and 4s. Not all our members finished the book – “I loved the one line that I read” but for those who did, some felt “it was like a glacier, snow and without direction” and “like the Inuit words for snow – there are lots of words and I don’t understand any of them”. On the plus side, others felt the book was “fascinating” with “a likeable main character” and a plot you could get “entangled” in.
The first issue some had with this book was it didn’t neatly fit into the scandi noir genre. There was no detective with alcohol problems. There was no gruesome murders. When asked whether the group would want to read more of the genre the answer was yes but with the caveat “now I know that this isn’t typical”.
Peter Høeg is quite open in interviews about how difficult he found it to write as a woman. When the team were asked whether he managed it successfully, they thought, for the most part, the characterisation was ok. There were a number of questions raised about the sex scenes in particular. Was this just an example of the male gaze/male fantasy projected onto a female protagonist?
The conversation for this book was meandering. Partly because it wasn’t the easiest book to analyse, and partly, possibly, because some rose may have been consumed. However, we discussed Smilla’s affection for the young boy and why she particularly connected to him. We also looked at Smilla’s daddy issues. Our “May moment” came courtesy of Sally when she pointed out that the father represented Denmark and its relationship with Greenland (collective “ooooohhhhs” rang around the table at this point)
We looked at some of the supporting characters but sadly, my note taker (Bad Kelly) seems to have lost the thread here.
And so, with that, I’m also going to give up (on this write up).
All that remains is for me to say thank you to a stalwart of the Lausanne Book Club – Bad Kelly. We will all miss your humour, kindness, and the joy you bring each meeting. We wish you the best of luck in your new home (and why not start an Ohio chapter of the Lausanne Book Club? I’ll even lend you the logo!)