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The Quiet Girl

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A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of 2007 The internationally acclaimed bestselling author of Smilla's Sense of Snow returns with this "engrossing, beautifully written tale of suspense . . . captivating" (The Miami Herald). Kaspar Krone is a world-renowned circus clown, and a man in some deep trouble. Drowning in gambling debt and wanted for tax evasion, Krone is drafted into A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of 2007 The internationally acclaimed bestselling author of Smilla's Sense of Snow returns with this "engrossing, beautifully written tale of suspense . . . captivating" (The Miami Herald). Kaspar Krone is a world-renowned circus clown, and a man in some deep trouble. Drowning in gambling debt and wanted for tax evasion, Krone is drafted into the service of a mysterious order of nuns who promise him reprieve in return for his help safeguarding a group of children with mystical abilities that Krone also shares. When one of the children goes missing, Krone sets off to find the young girl and bring her back, making a shocking series of discoveries along the way. The Quiet Girl is an exuberant philosophical thriller that is "every bit as adventuresome and ambitious as Smilla's Sense of Snow, even more so" (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

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A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of 2007 The internationally acclaimed bestselling author of Smilla's Sense of Snow returns with this "engrossing, beautifully written tale of suspense . . . captivating" (The Miami Herald). Kaspar Krone is a world-renowned circus clown, and a man in some deep trouble. Drowning in gambling debt and wanted for tax evasion, Krone is drafted into A Chicago Tribune Favorite Book of 2007 The internationally acclaimed bestselling author of Smilla's Sense of Snow returns with this "engrossing, beautifully written tale of suspense . . . captivating" (The Miami Herald). Kaspar Krone is a world-renowned circus clown, and a man in some deep trouble. Drowning in gambling debt and wanted for tax evasion, Krone is drafted into the service of a mysterious order of nuns who promise him reprieve in return for his help safeguarding a group of children with mystical abilities that Krone also shares. When one of the children goes missing, Krone sets off to find the young girl and bring her back, making a shocking series of discoveries along the way. The Quiet Girl is an exuberant philosophical thriller that is "every bit as adventuresome and ambitious as Smilla's Sense of Snow, even more so" (Cleveland Plain Dealer).

30 review for The Quiet Girl

  1. 4 out of 5

    Lyn

    I checked this book out because I wanted to read something different and I succeeded beyond what I had expected. Besides a passing familiarity with Hans Christian Anderson, I had never read a Danish author to my knowledge, and I knew only that Copenhagen was a city in Northern Europe, so this fit the description of something different. But what exactly this book is still eludes me. I read some reviews and I was somewhat relieved to see that I am not the only reader trying to figure out what we h I checked this book out because I wanted to read something different and I succeeded beyond what I had expected. Besides a passing familiarity with Hans Christian Anderson, I had never read a Danish author to my knowledge, and I knew only that Copenhagen was a city in Northern Europe, so this fit the description of something different. But what exactly this book is still eludes me. I read some reviews and I was somewhat relieved to see that I am not the only reader trying to figure out what we had just read. Some critics even blamed the translator. I could say postmodern, avant grade, I could even say magical realism and then only because the back cover told me that. This is sort of a mystery, thriller, detective case with spiritual, philosophic, theological, mystical, fantastic elements weaved in. The protagonist is a circus clown/pyschic healer/gambler/conman/criminal​ who has the unique, almost psychic, ability to "hear" a different reality, bordering on clairvoyance. So, two thumbs way up for originality and a quizzical shrug for whatever the story was about. Strange thing was, I liked it.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Colleen Toporek

    I am a huge fan of Peter Hoeg. He manages to create a strange blend of brittle intellectualism and dreamy philosophy that I find fascinating. The Quiet Girl, like Smilla's Sense of Snow and Borderliners, is a kind of mystery novel with an almost translucent layer of the occult. And as in those books, the supernatural is revealed and translated through thinking; it has to do with people's minds, and understanding of the world, and attempts to establish and clarify their attachments to other human I am a huge fan of Peter Hoeg. He manages to create a strange blend of brittle intellectualism and dreamy philosophy that I find fascinating. The Quiet Girl, like Smilla's Sense of Snow and Borderliners, is a kind of mystery novel with an almost translucent layer of the occult. And as in those books, the supernatural is revealed and translated through thinking; it has to do with people's minds, and understanding of the world, and attempts to establish and clarify their attachments to other human beings. What's the plot? Whatever, read the synopsis from the publisher. Kaspar Krone is a famous international clown and he is searching for a kidnapped little girl with weeeeirrrd powers. The first couple of hundred pages take the story back and forth through time, and it's somewhat confusing, but Hoeg seems to like to keep the suspense as high as possible; it reminded me a bit of that Murakami novel, where you don't even learn the narrator's name until about a third of the way in, I think Wind-Up Bird Chronicles. Like Murakami, Hoeg plays a multilayered shell game while building up the stakes on the characters as you get to know them. And there's no telling where it could be headed; I guarantee the ending of Quiet Girl will be a punch in the gut, whether you are pleasantly flabbergasted or furious. I also loved all the discussion of sound and classical music. Maybe because I don't know much about those things? And there is a heavy emphasis on the Divine, which Kaspar Krone refers to as "SheAlmighty," ha! Hoeg's writing is both precise and emotional, and occasionally brutally explicit. Really, he's unbelievable, I highly recommend any of his books. Anyway here are some quotes from The Quiet Girl: "'When you really listen, all sounds begin to organize themselves into themes. They aren't haphazard. We don't live in chaos. Someone is trying to play something. Trying to create a piece of music. '" "He neared the end of the first section, the number of simulated voices at a maximum; he had never fully understood how Bach did it--sometimes he thought perhaps there was not just one "Chaconne" perhaps there was a flowing tonal virtuality that kept multiplying and would never end. Perhaps people are like that--perhaps each of us is not just one person but an endless series of unique constellations in the present, or maybe that gets too complicated? That's the question the great improvisers ask: Can we find our way back to the theme and the keynote?" And here's one of my favorites, this is just so Peter Hoeg: "'My problem,' said Kaspar, 'is that even if she had killed and devoured a whole family, I'd still love her.'"

  3. 5 out of 5

    Cathy

    I loved Smilla's Sense of Snow and expected good things from this. And really was intrigued by the main character: his ability to hear emotions and feelings others don't, in tones, musical references, and across distances, and very usefully, what's going on behind someone's voice during a phone call. A good quality for a man trying to hunt down some child snatchers. And his profession - a clown who is wanted across Europe for tax evasion - was inventive and surprisingly useful when inserted into I loved Smilla's Sense of Snow and expected good things from this. And really was intrigued by the main character: his ability to hear emotions and feelings others don't, in tones, musical references, and across distances, and very usefully, what's going on behind someone's voice during a phone call. A good quality for a man trying to hunt down some child snatchers. And his profession - a clown who is wanted across Europe for tax evasion - was inventive and surprisingly useful when inserted into the plot at key times. Kasper Krone alone makes this book worth picking up. But I got lost about 100 pages in by the jumbled plot, had no idea who all the characters were or the time sequence, and plundered forward expecting at least a nice, satisfying wrap up at the end. No dice. Just a little more confusion and then a dead thud. Did the kids have the ability to predict earthquakes or not? Will the main bad guy make millions from buying up flooded downtown Copenhagen real estate and then selling it? I'll never know. And these seemed like some key plot points to me! Oh well. I will remember Kasper for a while, I'm sure.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lia

    Ahhh... So after 4 days of semi-forcing myself to finish this book, I'm finally done. There are nice quotes throughout the book, but aside from that, I didn't really get anything from the story aside from a splitting headache and disappointment. Though I got this secondhand, I wish I hadn't bought it at all. It's that bad (for me, at least). CONFUSING. If I had to use just one word to describe how I feel about The Quiet Girl, that would definitely be it. Looking at my notes, that's the most used Ahhh... So after 4 days of semi-forcing myself to finish this book, I'm finally done. There are nice quotes throughout the book, but aside from that, I didn't really get anything from the story aside from a splitting headache and disappointment. Though I got this secondhand, I wish I hadn't bought it at all. It's that bad (for me, at least). CONFUSING. If I had to use just one word to describe how I feel about The Quiet Girl, that would definitely be it. Looking at my notes, that's the most used word. It's an understatement, still. A few things: - Time, sequencing: too confusing. I felt like I'm being propelled back and forth through time too often than necessary. - Too many characters. Too much stuff going on. Too many complications. Too many pages. Too many information sometimes. I had to go back a few pages (and sometimes, chapters) just to remember who the hell these people are and what the hell's happening. More often than not, I still didn't get it. I don't think I understood anything at all. - I find it extremely boring. I fought the urge to quit reading it too many a time. But I finished it, still; I desperately wanted to find something that would make me like this book, because I genuinely felt there was something to like. Well, 408 pages later, I found nothing. Aside from Maximillian, which was the only character I truly liked, loved even. I'm torn between liking Kasper and dismissing him as just "okay." - When I was reading the book, I decided that this would fall to the okay-i-have-to-read-this-again-some-time-maybe-i'll-appreciate-it-by-then pile but that changed even before I was done. I never wanted to discard a book even if I didn't like it much but this one, I don't know. I just feel extremely dumb because of it, feel like it ruined my life. HAHAHAHA. Kidding aside, there's a part of me that seriously wants to get rid of the book. I rarely do this because I'm not good at making reviews, I just felt like I had to let this out somehow, somewhere. Haha. Forgive me for rambling.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Ruth

    Not sure why I picked this one up at the library. I did not appreciate Smilla's Sense of Snow a few years back. But I'm muddling along here in Denmark with an outlaw famed clown who has the ability to know all things through absolute hearing. He's searching for a missing child or two and trying to avoid extradition and various court cases and legal issues. Way beyond weird. I can't tell when I'm in the present or if we're visiting the recent past. Not sure if it's the writing, the translation or Not sure why I picked this one up at the library. I did not appreciate Smilla's Sense of Snow a few years back. But I'm muddling along here in Denmark with an outlaw famed clown who has the ability to know all things through absolute hearing. He's searching for a missing child or two and trying to avoid extradition and various court cases and legal issues. Way beyond weird. I can't tell when I'm in the present or if we're visiting the recent past. Not sure if it's the writing, the translation or a brain fart on my part. Gave up on it. Too many books, not enough time.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Judy

    Smila's Sense of Snow, Hoeg's first novel, was unforgettable but in The Quiet Girl, he has surpassed even that. Once again there is a special child, once again there is a strong, intelligent, capable heroine, there are dastardly villains and the sense of a thriller but there is also so much more. I suppose some critic could complain that there is a bit too much more but I like a story that works on various levels. Kaspar Krone is a world famous clown, a professional violinist and a free spirit wh Smila's Sense of Snow, Hoeg's first novel, was unforgettable but in The Quiet Girl, he has surpassed even that. Once again there is a special child, once again there is a strong, intelligent, capable heroine, there are dastardly villains and the sense of a thriller but there is also so much more. I suppose some critic could complain that there is a bit too much more but I like a story that works on various levels. Kaspar Krone is a world famous clown, a professional violinist and a free spirit who spends the whole story in a world (literally) of trouble. He has a gift: an ability to hear beyond what most mortals can. He can discern what musical key any giving person is in; he can locate a phone caller's location by the sounds he hears through the phone. Every aspect of life has a sound that relays to Kaspar most of what is going on. Reading about this amazing world of sound made me realize how little I listen to life around me. Kaspar has a personal deity he calls SheAlmighty. He is partial to nuns and loves women in general. KlaraMaria is a gifted child for whom Kaspar feels unaccountably responsible. She and several other children like her are being used by unsavory persons for financial gain. Then there is Stina, the great unrequited love of Kaspar's life. Despite his religious proclivities and his many talents, Kaspar is pretty much a self-centered asshole. His personality defects make the characters around him seem almost holy, though none of them are without flaws and the reader is never really sure which are villains and which are trustworthy. Woven into this breakneck thriller are layers of philosophy and contemporary issues, orchestrated by all manner of music both popular and classical. Will KlaraMaria be saved? Will Kaspar and Stina ever get back together? Who exactly is behind the terror of troubles in the characters' lives? Hoeg answers all questions, wraps up all loose ends, most everyone is allowed either redemption or justice. I was entertained, intrigued and kept thinking of new ideas the whole way through this magical mosaic of a tale which touched on all five senses and every emotional level from despair to absurdity.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Algernon

    I wanted so much to like this one, to read something similar to my old favorite (Smilla and her snow sense) . Many times I felt the story of Kasper - the supernatural clown with perfect hearing - was flirting with greatness, and then something happened and I put the book down in order to pick something else. That's how it took me three weeks to read a book I should have finished in 2 or 3 sittings. The Quiet Girl uses a similar frame to Smilla : an investigation into the murder / disparition of a I wanted so much to like this one, to read something similar to my old favorite (Smilla and her snow sense) . Many times I felt the story of Kasper - the supernatural clown with perfect hearing - was flirting with greatness, and then something happened and I put the book down in order to pick something else. That's how it took me three weeks to read a book I should have finished in 2 or 3 sittings. The Quiet Girl uses a similar frame to Smilla : an investigation into the murder / disparition of a child. For a thriller this new book has a very difficult pacing - always taking one step forward advancing the actual plot and two steps back in random flashbacks fleshing out the back story of Kasper in little bits at a time. It feels muddled and hard to follow with the introduction of supernatural elements and with a main action character prone to navel gazing instead of investigating the actual mystery of the missing quiet girl. The book functions much better as a philosophical essay, with its numerous references to classical music, circus life, Copenhagen street life, the wisdom of the church elders, modern philosophers and pop culture trivia. Maybe one reason I failed to connect with the story 100 % is the constant reference to music. The sound detection abilities of Kasper are so perfect they became hard to digest by my skeptical mind and my engineering training. I love the classical composers, and I have listened extensively to most of the compositions mentioned here, but I'm tone deaf and I couldn't tell a C minor from an A flat if you were to torture me, so most of the explanations of why Johann Sebastian Bach is a perfect composer were lost on me. The human interest story of Kasper and his search for redemption after losing his mother to a circus accident and his lover to his own inflated ego, is slow to develop, but the patient reader will probably find satisfaction in the final reveals.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Lorna

    The kind of book I loathe: one that sets out to assert the intellectual superiority of the author and make the reader feel stupid. I only finished it out of the sheer dogged determination that's part of my character and honed by three years as an English undergraduate. The novel is about a clown, Kaspar, who is able to hear people and objects as music and is able to reach sounds that other people can't, and is in trouble for debt and tax evasion. There is a young girl who, along with a number of The kind of book I loathe: one that sets out to assert the intellectual superiority of the author and make the reader feel stupid. I only finished it out of the sheer dogged determination that's part of my character and honed by three years as an English undergraduate. The novel is about a clown, Kaspar, who is able to hear people and objects as music and is able to reach sounds that other people can't, and is in trouble for debt and tax evasion. There is a young girl who, along with a number of other children, appears to be in danger. There are some strange nuns who help Kaspar out in return for him helping them safeguard the children. And there are earthquakes in and around Copenhagen - or maybe not. The novel keeps jumping around in time, and joys in its detailed and obscure references to pieces by Bach and to the geography of Denmark. If you really have nothing better to do, and you are of a particularly masochistic temperament, wrap a wet towel round your head, stock up on ibuprofen and a few bottles of your favourite tipple, and read it. If not, there's always the grout to whiten or the kettle to descale.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Annabel Smith

    The Quiet Girl is, in many ways, an amazing novel. The depth of research alone is astounding: the life and work of Bach; the interactions of various Danish governmental, financial and judicial organisations; the history of the circus; seismology; the actual, physical underbelly of Copenhagen. Hoeg has a fascination with people who possess extraordinary mental or psychological powers – Smilla’s ‘sense of snow’, the children in Borderliners – and this book is no exception. Kasper Krone’s hearing is The Quiet Girl is, in many ways, an amazing novel. The depth of research alone is astounding: the life and work of Bach; the interactions of various Danish governmental, financial and judicial organisations; the history of the circus; seismology; the actual, physical underbelly of Copenhagen. Hoeg has a fascination with people who possess extraordinary mental or psychological powers – Smilla’s ‘sense of snow’, the children in Borderliners – and this book is no exception. Kasper Krone’s hearing is a kind of super-sense. He can not only hear the minutiae in every soundscape ‘fast lifts, muffled ventilation systems, the cosmic whisper of a thousand tons of IT’; he can also ‘hear’ people, the musical key to which they are tuned, whether they are telling the truth, whether they feel anxious. This ‘gift’, a strange side-effect of a devastating childhood accident, is both a blessing and a curse, and Kasper forms a special connection with a mysterious child who allows him to access silence. When he finds out the child has been kidnapped, Kasper risks everything to find her. Kasper is a striking and memorable protagonist. He is audacious and unscrupulous, quick-witted and charismatic. He lies and cheats and deceives; he uses his music, his circus tricks, violence, bribery – anything it takes to get what he wants or needs. If he wasn’t doing all these things for a higher cause, he might be detestable. But everything he does is to save ‘the quiet girl.’ The novel deals with love, both familial and romantic, with passion – for music, for science, with faith and prayer. It is, in some ways, a kind of ‘bildungsroman’, in which Kasper is forced to confront his own nature, all his demons, his past, everything that has made him who he is. What lets this book down is the plot, which is insanely complicated. I got to page 75, and had to start again because I had already lost track of the key characters and what Kasper was pursuing. After that I took notes as I read and even then, from scene to scene, I often had no real idea of Kasper’s motives. When I reached the end I still hadn’t really understood why the girl had been kidnapped, or even who the goodies and baddies really were. I felt like I was playing chess with a person who was at least six moves ahead of me. And it was tiring. And tiresome. Peter Hoeg is without doubt an extraordinarily clever writer. Perhaps a little too clever for me.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Ashworth

    Thoroughly dashing with many moments of sublimity. The Quiet Girl is a quirky book and is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's not a crowd pleaser, like The Time Traveler's WIfe. But when a book calls itself a philosophical thriller what do you expect? What Peter Hoeg gives you is a deliciously unique read that contains reflections on sound, classical music, spirituality, mysticism, psychology, and love. A fantastic combination. You have fast pacing, and you have moments of reflection. This Thoroughly dashing with many moments of sublimity. The Quiet Girl is a quirky book and is not going to be everyone's cup of tea. It's not a crowd pleaser, like The Time Traveler's WIfe. But when a book calls itself a philosophical thriller what do you expect? What Peter Hoeg gives you is a deliciously unique read that contains reflections on sound, classical music, spirituality, mysticism, psychology, and love. A fantastic combination. You have fast pacing, and you have moments of reflection. This isn't a beach novel, this is a novel that is athletic, relentless, driven, intelligent, risky, spiritual, and human. Some of the prose is exquisite: "Some children weren't children; they were very old. Kasper had begun to hear this twenty years ago. Some children were ancient souls with a thin infantile veneer. This boy was at least twelve hundred years old; his sound rang like one of Bach's great pieces." The book is not perfect. Some of the prose is choppy. Whether this is the translation, the nature of Danish, or the nature of thrillers is hard to say--I don't usually read thrillers. Some of the prose seems a bit flat, especially Stina's factual exposition. On the other hand, perhaps that's the idea as she is guarding herself. There are moments when the plot itself feels choppy, with its frequent cuts and location changes, not to mention flashbacks. But these are the very thing that create much of the pacing and suspense. The end was a slight let down for me with a lukewarm romantic note. Not entirely out of keeping with the novel but I suppose I was expecting something grander. Overall a throughly enjoyable read.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I'm listening to this, and really, truly, I have very little idea what is going on. I"m on CD two. There are clowns and a man who feels music in people. Two or one quiet girls. I intend to keep going, but I feel as though I'm in one of those bad dreams from which awakening is prohibited. Sort of interesting, but very disconcerting. Okay, folks, I finished this wild, bizarre, strange story, that ended up making sense out of non-sense. Really intriguing, very funny, smart, ironic, spiritual, artist I'm listening to this, and really, truly, I have very little idea what is going on. I"m on CD two. There are clowns and a man who feels music in people. Two or one quiet girls. I intend to keep going, but I feel as though I'm in one of those bad dreams from which awakening is prohibited. Sort of interesting, but very disconcerting. Okay, folks, I finished this wild, bizarre, strange story, that ended up making sense out of non-sense. Really intriguing, very funny, smart, ironic, spiritual, artistic and worth the hard slog through intense confusion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Marius van Blerck

    Littered with brilliant scenes, this novel simply does not hang together. A pity, but the author deliberately crafted it like this, so cannot be to surprised at the reaction. With a slightly different approach by the author, this book could have been outstanding.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Marija

    About ten years ago, I had a friend who recommended the works of this author, told me Smilla's Sense of Snow was one of his favorite books. So I started reading it, but at fourteen/fifteen, I just didn’t have the patience with the postmodern fragmentary construction of the text. I ended up just skimming through it, and later watched the film in order to put all of the pieces together. But the one aspect of the book that’s stayed with me after all those years was Høeg’s poetic style. Imbedded in About ten years ago, I had a friend who recommended the works of this author, told me Smilla's Sense of Snow was one of his favorite books. So I started reading it, but at fourteen/fifteen, I just didn’t have the patience with the postmodern fragmentary construction of the text. I ended up just skimming through it, and later watched the film in order to put all of the pieces together. But the one aspect of the book that’s stayed with me after all those years was Høeg’s poetic style. Imbedded in the text are certain observations that are cool and intriguing in the way they’re crafted. So when I came across The Quiet Girl, remembering that particular aspect of Høeg’s writing, I decided to try again. Now that I’m older, I’m better able to grasp what Høeg’s doing with his storytelling. He’s writing a mystery, and rather than giving the reader all of the information as it happens, he’s giving you pieces—each page is a new piece to the puzzle. He’s forcing the reader to become part of the story and be the detective—to arrange all of the puzzle pieces together into a cohesive whole. Considering it in this light, I can sort of respect what he’s doing, but it still takes just over 100 pages to really understand what’s going on. The basic story skeleton follows Kaspar Krone, a famous circus clown, and his attempts to locate and uncover the conspiracy surrounding the disappearance of KlaraMaria, a girl he’s met a few times at the circus. From the moment he first meets KlaraMaria, he immediately senses something special about her—the calm, soothing silence that radiates from her being—something he’s always secretly desired for himself. Day and night Kaspar’s constantly bombarded with sound and music. An accident has left him with the ability to sense and gauge people’s auras and thoughts with music; slight shifts in thought or feeling can change the tone/song that radiates from a person’s soul. When he’s with KlaraMaria, her silence cancels out his own abilities, and eventually grows to love her like a daughter. When he discovers that she’s been kidnapped, he’s afraid of how her abilities may be manipulated, and begins a quest to find her. I thought this idea interesting. Høeg’s other novels also include stories about children with special abilities. However, I’m not that sold on the ending. Personally, I feel it would have been better for the novel to end on a personal level rather than the grand philosophical questions on which the book ends. I’m still trying to figure out if in the end, the table’s turned… that Kaspar’s actually the one in danger of being manipulated in this grand scheme. As a side note, some of the action scenes involving Kaspar tend to be a bit farcical, but keeping in mind that he is a clown associated with the magical farce of the circus, it does somehow make sense. After reading those scenes, I couldn’t help but laugh and say, “Wow! What a man!” ;-) And like Smilla’s Sense of Snow, The Quiet Girl’s also chock-full of those fun and poetic observations. Below’s a brief sampling: “Children woke up at six-thirty in the morning and shifted directly into fourth gear. Fourteen hours later they rushed straight into sleep at more than a hundred miles an hour without decelerating.” “The real opportunity in family life was not the security, not the monotony, not the predictability. The real opportunity lay in the fact that sometimes there were no pretenses, no masks, no reservations; suddenly everybody took out his earplugs, it was quiet, and one could hear the others as they really were.” “Already the ground frost was so thick he could feel the cold through the soles of his shoes. The girl must have a different metabolism from him; in her thin sweater she seemed to be carrying summer around with her.” “She looked at him. As if she wanted to determine his molecular weight.” “The city sounded like a single organism. It had been up early, and now it was weary. Now it sank down into the furniture, heavy as a moving man. And under the weight he heard the uneasiness that is always there, because yet another day is over, and what was accomplished, where are we headed?”

  14. 5 out of 5

    Alexis

    I loved Borderliners and The Woman and the Ape. Hoeg's style is still there but I got a little exhausted, and also misled, by every. single. moment. being super suspenseful and high-octane. I know to expect that Hoeg protagonists will have practically superhuman abilities, to stay awake not eating for a week, to get shot and act like it's nothing, etc. But the reader doesn't have that kind of stamina. The reader wants to be able to figure out how close we are to the climax. You can't in this boo I loved Borderliners and The Woman and the Ape. Hoeg's style is still there but I got a little exhausted, and also misled, by every. single. moment. being super suspenseful and high-octane. I know to expect that Hoeg protagonists will have practically superhuman abilities, to stay awake not eating for a week, to get shot and act like it's nothing, etc. But the reader doesn't have that kind of stamina. The reader wants to be able to figure out how close we are to the climax. You can't in this book because it's all climax. Oh, also I kind of have a beef with authors (I'm looking at like half the winners of the Booker prize here. For some reason the Booker committee is super into this.) who have long descriptions of musical pieces. I can really dig the acoustic and musical stuff in this book but at a certain point I can only read so much description of something that I can't hear. Even if it's about a particular piece of music and I know that piece, there's no way to match up the description with which part of the piece they may be talking about. If music plays such a huge role in your story, maybe you should consider screen writing. I wasn't dismayed when my boyfriend, not a big reader, borrowed this book because he found the writing really interesting (he was totally thrown off by the shaky plot and weird timeline and will probably never borrow another book from me), but I would strongly urge people to try a different one of the author's books.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey

    A lot of people seem to have really enjoyed this book, but I just didn't get it. Being a musician I appreciated all the musical references and glad I had an understanding of what he was talking about in that respect or the book would have had no meaning for me. Simply put I just didn't get the point of the book. There were a few lines or quotes that I thought were interesting on true to life but the overall story was just odd to me. The characters didn't feel like real people, or seem to do the A lot of people seem to have really enjoyed this book, but I just didn't get it. Being a musician I appreciated all the musical references and glad I had an understanding of what he was talking about in that respect or the book would have had no meaning for me. Simply put I just didn't get the point of the book. There were a few lines or quotes that I thought were interesting on true to life but the overall story was just odd to me. The characters didn't feel like real people, or seem to do the things I would expect real people to do. I understand that there was a science fiction/fantasy element to Kasper, KlaraMaria and some of the other characters and what they were able to do or feel and I was able to suspend my disbelief for that part of the story, but it was the human emotions, choices, etc. that didn't feel genuine to me. It's a book that maybe one day down the road I will pick up and try to read again to see if I have a different or better understanding. At first I couldn't follow the action, but decided that was because I was reading the book in short snatches and not giving it my full attention once I sat down and gave it attention I easily followed the story and I wanted to enjoy it and get into it, but I just couldn't. This is not the type of book I typically read but wanted to try something new so take my review with a grain of salt.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Alexandra

    Die Handlungsstränge dieser Geschichte sind total verworren geflochten, enthalten wirre, völlig inkonsistente Zeit-, Szenen- und zu allem Überfluss auch noch Gedankensprünge. Personen werden in dieser Umgebung nicht beim Namen genannt sondern andauernd unterschiedlich beschrieben und dann sucht man auch noch bei den vielen dänischen Ortsbeschreibungen und -namen der Szenen hinten im Anhang auf der Detail-Karte und dem Personenregister ständig nach den fehlenden Hintergrundinformationen. Dadurch g Die Handlungsstränge dieser Geschichte sind total verworren geflochten, enthalten wirre, völlig inkonsistente Zeit-, Szenen- und zu allem Überfluss auch noch Gedankensprünge. Personen werden in dieser Umgebung nicht beim Namen genannt sondern andauernd unterschiedlich beschrieben und dann sucht man auch noch bei den vielen dänischen Ortsbeschreibungen und -namen der Szenen hinten im Anhang auf der Detail-Karte und dem Personenregister ständig nach den fehlenden Hintergrundinformationen. Dadurch geht dem Leser der phantastischen Geschichte sowohl inhaltlicher Kontext, Vorstellungskraft, als auch komplett die Spannung verloren. Das Buch wird statt mysteriös nur extrem mühsam. Das hasse ich wirklich Eigentlich ist es sehr schade, denn der Autor kann sprachlich sehr gut fabulieren, das Thema Töne und Musik der Menschen und Dinge interessiert mich sehr und die Geschichte hat letztendlich, wenn man sie völlig anders erzählen würde, durchaus auch sehr viel Potenzial. Alles in allem eine komplette Enttäuschung - (pseudo)intellektuell arrangiert - ich bin wirklich froh, dass es vorbei ist.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Simo

    Again, a masterpiece by Hoeg. This book was wery engaging and it had a flow that carried me through the book with ease. The protagonist, Kaspar Krone, is an intriguing character and Hoeg excels in describing the world through his eyes and ears. All the important aspects of a good story are present in the book: adventure, romance, love, sex, philosophy, religion and music. As is often the case with great art, this book offers a new way to look at world. The protagonist perceives the world mostly t Again, a masterpiece by Hoeg. This book was wery engaging and it had a flow that carried me through the book with ease. The protagonist, Kaspar Krone, is an intriguing character and Hoeg excels in describing the world through his eyes and ears. All the important aspects of a good story are present in the book: adventure, romance, love, sex, philosophy, religion and music. As is often the case with great art, this book offers a new way to look at world. The protagonist perceives the world mostly through hearing, and music has an important role in his worldview. Hoeg's ability to use classic music as an element of his story is very impressive and shows the amount of work put into writing this book. After finishing the book, I was not sure wether to give it four or five stars. The final pages of book felt at first a bit bland, after very intensive and touching events. However, I believe that this is one of those books that have potential for several readings. Maybe the ending feels different when I read this book next time, in another point of my life.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Henna Pääkkönen

    Wierd mystical artistic and confusing book. Not really my style, a bit too far out there.... Hence the difficulty in getting through it... (Took me a month...)

  19. 4 out of 5

    Crzy D

    It was sooo good right up until the end. I picked it up because Smilla's sense of Snow was an absolute masterpiece and I figured anyone who writes like that would not be disappointing but I stand corrected. The premise, through vague, was promising. A modern day superhero (with insane hearing powers) out to rescue some supernaturally gifted children being exploited for greed. Because sound is his superpower, the motifs of classical music are woven through the book and that is kinda of reminiscen It was sooo good right up until the end. I picked it up because Smilla's sense of Snow was an absolute masterpiece and I figured anyone who writes like that would not be disappointing but I stand corrected. The premise, through vague, was promising. A modern day superhero (with insane hearing powers) out to rescue some supernaturally gifted children being exploited for greed. Because sound is his superpower, the motifs of classical music are woven through the book and that is kinda of reminiscent of the magic of Smilla. The starting chapters was so fast paced that I felt I was going to tumble into a climax any moment now and that kept me hooked. But somewhere towards the 2/3rds of the book, the pace slowed and the plot starting fogging up instead of clearing. The problem was that it never really clears up even at the end. I felt we had more answers and clarity at the beginning of the book than at the end. And the questions were not the kind left open ended to make us think but merely annoying ones because it feels the ending was clumsily handled. Both the protagonist and the readers are left confused and defeated with something which could possibly be construed as a happy ending or as the beginning of something very disconcerting. There are so many good things which have gone into the book but unfortunately all it leaves is a bitter after taste.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Edelhart Kempeneers

    Een moeilijk boek. Nog steeds de moeite van het lezen waard, maar ik vond zijn Smilla's Sense of Snow toch een heel stuk beter.

  21. 4 out of 5

    Sherri F.

    CD version: It was an interesting concept and original story that I was trying to enjoy for the most part. It is very intelligently written and covers a few topics I'm strongly familiar with so my simpleton mind was struggling. I learned early on that it definitely was an audiobook that I couldn't multi-task while listening (so it was remanded to car time & rest time, as with today sick time). There was some things that were related to Denmark and maybe the narration accent added to some of CD version: It was an interesting concept and original story that I was trying to enjoy for the most part. It is very intelligently written and covers a few topics I'm strongly familiar with so my simpleton mind was struggling. I learned early on that it definitely was an audiobook that I couldn't multi-task while listening (so it was remanded to car time & rest time, as with today sick time). There was some things that were related to Denmark and maybe the narration accent added to some of my difficulty, but a lot was in the telling and my lack of knowledge of Bach and other classical music as well as specific notes and their meaning and effect. There was a lot of Krona talk but I had that down and the conversions from recently listening to the The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trology. The other thing that may have made the audio version more difficult was it wasn't always easy to tell if people were really speaking out loud or if it was the mind reading or musical feeling/reading that was happening. The story, set in Denmark, is centered around Kasper Krone, a world-renowned circus clown from a long line of circus performers (at least on his mother's side), gambler and Johann Sebastian Bach lover. After an accident as a child, he was able to channel music differently in a way that everything had a sound to him and he understood things through it's sound. Now, later in life, just as Kasper is being indicted for tax evasion, a young girl comes to one of his music lessons, she communicates telepathically (their shared musical ability) that she was being held against her will and she wanted his held. Soon after Kasper is wanted for extradition as he is trying to help find this girl, and he also enlists the help of an old girlfriend, but things go awry and a special order of nuns needs his help to find other children with special abilities and offers to hide him in exchange. There are many surprising discoveries and thriller moments and a lot of talk about classical music, specific notes, flasbacks to childhood and performing in the circus, and a cast of unusual characters along the way. It's worth checking out if you are interested in any of the above, especially if you have specific musical knowledge, and/or are in the mood for an intelligent read.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Marina

    – Гиви, ти любыш памидоры? – Кушать – да, а так – нэт! Странные у меня отношения с скандинавской литературой – она прекрасна, но читать ее не люблю. Вот честно, есть же в ней свой некий шарм и прелесть, есть что-то такое свое особое, что не глядя на автора можно понять – о, а это скандинавы! Такой же шарм есть в японской, латиноамериканской… И это несомненный плюс для северян! Как по мне, прелесть северной литературы заключается в неспешности, плавучести ритма повествования. Так же это обычно – Гиви, ти любыш памидоры? – Кушать – да, а так – нэт! Странные у меня отношения с скандинавской литературой – она прекрасна, но читать ее не люблю. Вот честно, есть же в ней свой некий шарм и прелесть, есть что-то такое свое особое, что не глядя на автора можно понять – о, а это скандинавы! Такой же шарм есть в японской, латиноамериканской… И это несомненный плюс для северян! Как по мне, прелесть северной литературы заключается в неспешности, плавучести ритма повествования. Так же это обычно некая линия триллера или вообще суто детектив – я не встречала любовного романа или фантастики от авторов-скандинавов. Так же произошло у меня и с Хёгом и его Каспером Кроне. Медленно течет сюжет, медленно происходят все изменения, но одновременно сюжет скачет с первого на третье, с пятого на первое, с второго на десятое. Эти постоянные флешбеки и флешфоварды в моем случае привели к тому, что я запуталась окончательно и бесповоротно, так что не могу точно сказать, когда произошло то или другое событие. Например, я думала, что Стине и Кроне познакомились вот буквально перед началом книги, а оказалось, что минимум 12 лет назад. Хотя и тут я тоже неуверенна) Не знаю, как Хёгу удается такая смесь медленности и быстроты, но что-то в этом есть цепляющее. Я долго читала книгу, для себя – прям очень-очень долго, недели две. Не могла себя заставить читать больше 10 процентов в день, хотя мне и было очень интересно в плане сюжета и одновременно настолько скучно, что я моментально засыпала. Эх, вот она доля офисного работника, читать успеваешь 10-20 минут перед сном и все( В одной рецензии я прочитала, что «Чтобы любить Хёга – нужно быть хотя бы немного интровертом (или социопатом)». Я однозначно не первое, и по настроению второе! Или нужно настроится на особую волну Хёга, что у меня тоже не произошло... А в общем, книга-то замечательная, интересная и по сюжету, и по авторским задумкам, но, к сожалению, не по моему характеру. Грустно мне в этих медленных плавучих льдах холодных северных книг.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Janice

    I found this a very strange book, and perhaps this is one that did not lend it's self to the audio version, at least for me. There are many characters, and I got lost trying to keep them all straight. The central character Kaspar Krone, is a circus clown, although he is not in the ring during this book, but is pursuing a group of children whose lives he believes are in danger. These children, along with Kaspar, have a beyond normal sense of hearing, and can hear things the rest of us cannot, suc I found this a very strange book, and perhaps this is one that did not lend it's self to the audio version, at least for me. There are many characters, and I got lost trying to keep them all straight. The central character Kaspar Krone, is a circus clown, although he is not in the ring during this book, but is pursuing a group of children whose lives he believes are in danger. These children, along with Kaspar, have a beyond normal sense of hearing, and can hear things the rest of us cannot, such as feelings, and colors. What Kaspar hears is often described by comparison to many classical music pieces and composers. Although I love listening to classical music, I am not well versed in specific pieces of music or composers; someone who is would probably get much more from these references. There are also religious themes running throughout the story, with Kaspar often giving thought to the acts of "She Almighty", as he has named his creator. This book is set in Norway, as is Hoeg's previous book, Smilla's Sense of Snow, which I really enjoyed. I may try this one in print at some point, to try to clear up some of my confusion about what happened, as I did find much of it intruiging.

  24. 5 out of 5

    George

    Peter Hoeg has some great ideas, the kind of ideas that could make for really brilliant books. Unfortunately, in this case at least, his execution doesn't do justice to those ideas. The main character, Kasper Krone, is a famous circus clown, although we don't actually get to see him in the ring. He is also gifted with an incredible sense of hearing that allows him to hear sounds in things that most of us didn't even realize had sounds, and also allows him to hear details that most would miss. It Peter Hoeg has some great ideas, the kind of ideas that could make for really brilliant books. Unfortunately, in this case at least, his execution doesn't do justice to those ideas. The main character, Kasper Krone, is a famous circus clown, although we don't actually get to see him in the ring. He is also gifted with an incredible sense of hearing that allows him to hear sounds in things that most of us didn't even realize had sounds, and also allows him to hear details that most would miss. It borders on a superpower, but doesn't seem all that far-fetched when you think of the musicians, instrument-makers, and concert technicians who can hear subtleties in music, or the wine tasters who can detect hints of flavors that elude the average person. Naturally, Krone is a big fan of classical music, and various pieces resonate throughout the story. There are also numerous references to secular and religious philosophy. The plot involves a missing girl, a mysterious convent, and an unexplained natural phenomenon. So far, so good. Unfortunately, Hoeg's arrangement is so convoluted, and the characters so unapproachable, that these promising elements fail to make this book anything more than a meandering, confusing mess.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Beth

    A hard to classify novel,partially manic chase, partially James Bond, partially science fiction, partially magical realism, partially serious observations about human nature. The mix never quite gels for me. The reality is too real, the unreality even less believable because of the real parts (for instance, the hero who has recently recovered from a skull fracture, head-butts the villain and walks away from the encounter). The hero (Kasper Krone), narrator, a circus clown and gambler, attempts t A hard to classify novel,partially manic chase, partially James Bond, partially science fiction, partially magical realism, partially serious observations about human nature. The mix never quite gels for me. The reality is too real, the unreality even less believable because of the real parts (for instance, the hero who has recently recovered from a skull fracture, head-butts the villain and walks away from the encounter). The hero (Kasper Krone), narrator, a circus clown and gambler, attempts to rescue a young girl with whom he has worked (because he works well with children?) who is probably clairvoyant and who has been kidnapped by a rich industrial property developer. She and 11 other children seem to be victims of the greedy property developer, and Kasper is determined to rescue them. Using his preternatural sense of hearing (he can identify the make of a watch from 50 paces) he crashes his way through Copenhagen, encountering and re-encountering odd characters along the way. The combination of Danish place names and Danish character names doesn't make reading this grand-yet-serious caper easy to read without a great deal of effort. I was pretty much lost and cruising throughout most of the book.

  26. 5 out of 5

    Louise Silk

    I listened to The Quiet Girl, danish writer Peter Hoeg's most recent novel, while driving a long distance in the car. It was exciting to hear the book because the main character, Kaspar Krone, is a clown with exceptional hearing abilities. A devotee of Bach, Kaspar is blessed with the ability to hear anything when having contact with people from their emotions to their personalities. When he talks on the phone, he can gather a person's physical appearance, their distinct landscape and other obje I listened to The Quiet Girl, danish writer Peter Hoeg's most recent novel, while driving a long distance in the car. It was exciting to hear the book because the main character, Kaspar Krone, is a clown with exceptional hearing abilities. A devotee of Bach, Kaspar is blessed with the ability to hear anything when having contact with people from their emotions to their personalities. When he talks on the phone, he can gather a person's physical appearance, their distinct landscape and other objects around them. There are all kinds of discussion about sounds and music throughout the story that I found fascinating to hear about. The story, itself, focuses on the kidnapping of supernatural children in Denmark's capital, Copenhagen where Kasper is lured into a complex mystery surrounding the children, a girlfriend, nuns, earthquakes, powerful industrialists, limbless drivers and Denmark itself. The plot shifts into different spheres of time and dream bringing a mysterious labyrinth where anything can and does occur. The Quiet Girl comprises many moments of beauty, great insight and suspense as it explores Danish culture, history, geography and religious philosophy in the form of a science-fiction mystery thriller that was great entertainment for the road.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Lauragais

    Maybe I was just expecting too much. The first book I read written by Peter Høeg was Smilla's Sense of Snow, a book published in 1992 and still as fresh and impressively beautiful in my memory as 20 years ago. So the problem is mine that I could not warm up to The Quiet Girl, not enough to get lost in the book. Peter Høeg tells the story of a quiet girl who has the capability of sensing the melody of every human being. The second lead character in this book is Kaspar Krone, a former clown (chase Maybe I was just expecting too much. The first book I read written by Peter Høeg was Smilla's Sense of Snow, a book published in 1992 and still as fresh and impressively beautiful in my memory as 20 years ago. So the problem is mine that I could not warm up to The Quiet Girl, not enough to get lost in the book. Peter Høeg tells the story of a quiet girl who has the capability of sensing the melody of every human being. The second lead character in this book is Kaspar Krone, a former clown (chased by fiscal authorities for tax evasion) turned music therapist, who is promised a reprieve from his problems by an order of nuns. The latter hire his services as a guard for children with mystical abilities, which are shared by Kaspar Krone. When one of the children, the Quiet Girl, disappears, Kaspar Krone is the man to turn to. The curious reader can make an educated guess: the chase begins and with it many trials and tribulations, sometimes bordering on the bizarre. Wile the author still impresses with his impeccable and perfect choice of words and structured phrases, the many meanderings and sometimes incoherent leaps in time are interrupting the brilliantly beautiful flow as one could experience in many of his previous books.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

    Futuristic sci fi magical realism psychological thriller/mystery. A deep dive into the mind of a character you probably would never want to meet - even in daylight - because he could read you like you were medieval sheet music. Peter Hoeg's concept of people identifiable by the tunes their souls play - this one's "sound was now like the aria from the Goldberg Variations, that one's "being was E-major. The higher aspect of E-major," while Nature one night plays"the Ricercare from Ein Musikalische Futuristic sci fi magical realism psychological thriller/mystery. A deep dive into the mind of a character you probably would never want to meet - even in daylight - because he could read you like you were medieval sheet music. Peter Hoeg's concept of people identifiable by the tunes their souls play - this one's "sound was now like the aria from the Goldberg Variations, that one's "being was E-major. The higher aspect of E-major," while Nature one night plays"the Ricercare from Ein Musikalisches Opfer, orchestrated by Anton Webern with text by Tagore..." -echoes the Vedic idea of life originating, and perpetuating itself, as sound. Om. The novel seems to be about...oh did I mention the children who are apparently in mortal danger and have to be rescued by our hero but actually...and the fact that our hero is a famous clown on the run from the Danish and Spanish governments but some how manages to be rescued, manipulated and supported by nuns from the Russian Orthodox Church all the while running in and out of vehicles and buildings and underground structures chasing after bad guys with his body shot full of holes and losing lots of blood... Get the picture?

  29. 4 out of 5

    Kartik Sharma

    My first Peter Hoeg novel. Really fast paced, action packed psychological thriller - a genre that I am surprised is still in its nascence! Although the writing is very complex with unspecified time jumps, magical realism, no clear distinction between dream, hallucinations and reality (a who-cares-for-what's-real outlook) made a book a collection of too many first time reading experiences for me. I would love to read the book again. I believe the book requires to be read at least twice to be unde My first Peter Hoeg novel. Really fast paced, action packed psychological thriller - a genre that I am surprised is still in its nascence! Although the writing is very complex with unspecified time jumps, magical realism, no clear distinction between dream, hallucinations and reality (a who-cares-for-what's-real outlook) made a book a collection of too many first time reading experiences for me. I would love to read the book again. I believe the book requires to be read at least twice to be understood in entirety. The book is rich with details and in-depth knowledge of music, church, business, Denmark's law enforcement processes, geographic details, details of the underground sewage system and more. That is another thing that made it a very fresh style. A must read for anyone looking for some mental exercise along with reading! And there is thrill / suspense to keep you going - the way the story unfolds will keep you hooked to the book. On the way, be prepared to be blown away with some amazingly profound writing from the POV a middle aged Kasper Krone - a clown, a musician, a fugitive, a detective, a superhero.

  30. 4 out of 5

    P.

    I honestly don't know if I would have made it through this book without a deep love of Peter Hoeg supporting me, but I'm glad that I did. Kasper Krone, the protagonist, is fond of noting the non-linearity of his world, and Hoeg really manages to make that part of the book's structure. Going into it, I was baffled by characters being mentioned for the first time who were obviously important, and yet I didn't know who they were, and vignettes that may or may not have been flashbacks, and a nagging I honestly don't know if I would have made it through this book without a deep love of Peter Hoeg supporting me, but I'm glad that I did. Kasper Krone, the protagonist, is fond of noting the non-linearity of his world, and Hoeg really manages to make that part of the book's structure. Going into it, I was baffled by characters being mentioned for the first time who were obviously important, and yet I didn't know who they were, and vignettes that may or may not have been flashbacks, and a nagging feeling that I should be paying closer attention, but if I were, would I understand what was going on? I should go back and read my other Hoeg books to make sure, but I feel like there was a tonal departure in The Quiet Girl. It was more of a real puzzle, less dreamy, maybe a little less surreal. I still don't know if I liked it or if I would recommend it to anyone, but I don't think I wasted my time on it.

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