Every now and then, say every five years or perhaps even more seldom, this book is taken down and re-read. It seems like we've had it forever - our copy was printed in -95, so I think it's a budget print my husband around the time when we'd moved in together so we could see what the hype was about. I've always had a soft spot for it. It's been put in the charity pile every time we've had a bookshelf clearout but it's always been moved back to the "keep" pile by me, and now I'm happily resigned to the position of defender of Smilla; she's not leaving us anytime soon, that's my firm stance on the issue. The film was of course a huge disappointment. Let us not speak of it. This is a film that should have been made in Danish by Danes. In Danish nothing in Smilla's Feelings for Snow is sentimental or moony - in Danish Smilla is brutally self-sufficient and both whole and broken. There is beauty and dirt. This time reading it (which I am doing completely by coincidence based on the book being moved into my line of sight by my husband who was looking for something else I think) I am the same age as Smilla. We are both 37 and I know what she means when she calls herself old and at the same time can feel like a child. The darker parts of Smilla's personality are clearer to me this time and more understandable. When she wants to revel in her misery on her own I understand how she is thinking, and also how bittersweet it is that she isn't permitted that kind of solitude, now that she has made some connections to others. And it's not just a crime novel, it's more. Which is why it's good.
I wonder if it's worth the trouble trying to read this in Danish. Granted, Swedish and Danish are not that far apart, but I think there is a certain something extra-terse and ass-kicking about the Danish language that is probably lost in translation. Reading in Danish and Norwegian is oh such a pain though. Could they not film this, the Danes, and do it properly, and let me hear Smilla's rude remarks the way they're supposed to be heard? Do it well and it'll be a good story about their colonial past aswell, which may be needing to be told to the world.