Monday, 22 September 2008
KASPER Krone can hear aural auras, sensing the defining note of any person.
In the hands of Peter Høeg, whose Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow, was a deeply loved cult hit in 1992, you can happily expect weirdness, depth of feeling and a blizzard of mad facts.
In his first book in 10 years, Høeg goes off on a solo flight.
Ex-clown Krone is pulled into a labyrinth surrounding the 'quiet girl' of the title - a child who reveals herself as having no 'tone'.
Krone's in trouble: a gambling habit has landed him with a huge tax debt and he's about to be deported and jailed.
Now he sets off to search for the toneless child, convinced that she's in the hands of kidnappers.
Krone is full of notions, the story full of whispery mysteries, devolving finally into fantasy about a race of magical children hidden from the world.
I loved Smilla, and found this disappointing. It's terribly complex, fine if it held great depths, but I couldn't see these depths - which is just as likely to be a lack in me as in the book.
If you love the circus, you'll love this, and if you love language, how could you fail to love a writer who talks of "heavy, fine rain that fell like a grey silk curtain".