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If You Like Smilla's Sense of Snow ...

We've pulled together a few suggestions for further reading. Some share the literary thriller aspect of Hoeg's book, some the Nordic atmosphere. 

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Private Detective Jackson Brodie investigates three "cold" cases and a demented old lady's missing cats, discovering surprising connections between all of his cases and nearly getting himself killed. If you're looking for an old-fashioned whodunit, this isn't the book for you.
Atkinson's real interest in this book is exploring how crime affects the survivors. Still, I wanted to find out what happened to everyone and skimmed through to the end. - mmb

Drowning Ruth by Christina Schwarz
A wonderfully constructed gothic suspense novel set on a stark Wisconsin farm in 1919. The story goes backward and forward in time and is told by Amanda, her niece Ruth, and an omniscient narrator. The ties that bind the two women are as fragile as they are fierce and have their origin in the relationship of two sisters, Amanda and her sister Mattie, Ruth's mother. The narrative begins with Amanda as she recounts her childhood and the responsibility she came to feel for her younger sister and the parents who favored her younger sibling. Amanda finally wrests herself away from home to become a nurse, but her independence is short-lived.
Overwhelmed and sickened by the care of the wounded, and heartsick over the love of a married man, she suffers a nervous breakdown and seeks solace by returning to the farm to help Mattie care for her tiny daughter as they await the return of Mattie's husband from World War I.
But tragedy follows with Mattie's mysterious drowning during a winter blizzard and guilty lies soon engulf Amanda and threaten to change the lives of several others in the small rural community. A compelling complex tale of psychological mystery and maddeningly destructive provincial attitudes. (Jackie Gropman, School Library Journal Review)

Lake of Dead Languages by Carol Goodman

In this promising debut, set on the southern edge of the Adirondack Mountains in New York, Jane Hudson returns as a teacher to the private girls' school from which she graduated years earlier. Much has changed but not the legends about the lake on whose shores the school is located. Three large rocks in the lake are said to lure young girls into the water to commit suicide. Shortly after Jane returns, one of the students does attempt suicide, and the old stories begin anew. What is particularly disturbing is that the events seem to be following a pattern, copying the suicides that occurred while Jane was at school.
When Jane starts receiving pages from a journal of hers that has been missing for years, she knows that the similarities are not coincidental.
Writing teacher Goodman has crafted a page-turner of a mystery that will keep readers enthralled to the end. Those familiar with the region will enjoy her descriptions of the people and the places. (Karen Traynor, Library Journal Review)

The Princess of Burundi by Kjell Eriksson When the badly mutilated body of John Harald Jonsson-a working-class family man and an expert on the tropical fish known as cichlids-is found in the snow in the provincial Swedish town of Libro, homicide detective Ola Haver and his colleague, Ann Lindell, quickly identify a suspect, an embittered sociopath. The brilliance of Eriksson's richly detailed crime novel, his second (after The Illuminated Path) but his first to be translated into English, lies in its psychological and even sociological insights. Eriksson not only reveals a deep, sympathetic understanding for his large cast of characters but also evokes a pervasive sense of despair, reminiscent of Henning Mankell's, in the face of the violent, amoral nature of contemporary society and the challenges it places on the police. The title derives from the common name of one of Jonsson's beloved cichlids, and the aquarium is a neat metaphor for the dynamics of smalltown life. This suspenseful, intelligent and perceptive book is terrific. (Publishers Weekly)

The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg
In this labyrinthine, intellectual thriller, Høeg focuses on the nature of sound, and in particular the music of Bach. In a near future where an earthquake and resulting flood have submerged a portion of the city of Copenhagen, Kasper Krone, a world-famous clown and passionate Bach fan, is about to be deported for not paying his taxes. But an official in a secret government agency known as Department H offers to make the charges disappear if Krone will help them locate a young girl, KlaraMaria, who was once his student and shares his peculiar psychic abilities. The blend of science, erudition and slow revelations could only have been written by Høeg, and will appeal to his many fans and other readers with a taste for the literary offbeat. (Publishers Weekly)


Sun Storm by Asa Larsson
Rebecka Martinsson is heading home to Kiruna, the town she'd left in
disgrace years before. A Stockholm attorney, Rebecka has a good reason
to return: her friend Sanna, whose brother has been horrifically
murdered in the revivalist church his charisma helped create. Beautiful
and fragile, Sanna needs someone like Rebecka to remove the shadow of
guilt that is engulfing her, to forestall an ambitious prosecutor and a
dogged policewoman. But to help her friend, and to find the real killer
of a man she once adored and is now not sure she ever knew, Rebecka must
relive the darkness she left behind in Kiruna, delve into a sordid
conspiracy of deceit, and confront a killer whose motives are dark,
wrenching, and impossible to guess....(Publisher's description)

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach
...a headlong romantic drama that uses the painting of a portrait simply
as a jumping-off point. Van Loos [a real-life 17th century Holland
painter] comes to paint Sophia, the pretty young wife of wealthy burger
Cornelius Sandvoort, which starts a train of events that will
irredeemably change all their lives. Sophia and the artist fall
hopelessly in love; the Sandvoorts' servant, Maria, is having a child by
a man who, thinking himself betrayed by her, has run off and joined the
navy; meanwhile, Cornelius has always longed for a child. Out of these
circumstances, the infatuated couple formulate a plot, but one that
depends on getting together a great deal of money in a short time;
hence, the frenzied speculation in the value of new and rare breeds of
tulip that gives the book its title. Moggach puts all this together in a
series of brief, breathless chapters--packing in skillfully presented
facts, atmosphere and color--each told from a different point of view:
even the hapless drunk who brings the whole scheme crashing down around
Jan's and Sophia's ears is given his moment in the limelight, and the
figure of the elderly, cuckolded lover is for once sympathetically
drawn. The Amsterdam of the period is brought almost physically alive,
and a wistful postlude looks back at all the romantic anguish from a
serene distance. (Publishers Weekly)

The Yiddish Policeman's Union by Michael Chabon
This novel has some of the same flavor of "lost" people trying to
connect to others. What's washed-up cop Meyer Landsman to do when a heroin-addicted,
chess-crazed denizen of the dump where he lives gets plugged in the
head? He's going to find the killer, and to that end he calls in his
partner (and cousin) Berko Shemets, a bear of a man who's also
half-Tlingit because, you see, this is...Alaska? In this wildly
inventive blackest of black comedies, the Pulitzer Prize-winning Chabon
(The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier & Clay) imagines that after World
War II Roosevelt decreed the yet-to-be-50th state the homeland of the
Jews. Years have passed, and the Jews have settled in very nicely, thank
you, re-creating the aura of the Mitteleuropa they've lost-though the
black-hatted, ultra-orthodox Bobovers turn out to be real thugs. The
meddling of our two boys leads them straight to powerful and dangerous
Bobover leader Rebbe Gold and eventually to a plot aimed at the
reclamation of Israel. It also leads them into plenty of hot water with
the top brass, including their new boss-Meyer's ex-wife, Bina. Raucous,
acidulous, decidedly impolite, yet stylistically arresting, this book is
bloody brilliant-and if it's way over the top, that's what makes Chabon
such a great writer. (Barbara Hoffert, Library Journal)

Some of my colleagues have suggested that you may like books by Herman
Melville or Joseph Conrad, for their literary appeal, or Karin Fossum's
Inspector Sejer mysteries for their atmosphere, or, for the science
appeal, even Michael Crichton! If we haven't hit the aspect(s) of the
book that you would like in a match, let us know what they are and we'll
see what we can find.

Michele R. Brown
Reference Librarian