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Høeg, Peter

Entry updated 12 September 2022. Tagged: Author.

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(1957-    ). Danish author, much of whose work seems essentially Equipoisal between various modes – the stressed realism of De måske egnede (1993; trans Barbara Haveland as Borderliners 1994); the faux-folkloric idioms of some of the tales assembled in Fortællinger om natten (coll of linked stories 1990; trans Barbara Haveland as Tales of the Night 1997); the Magic Realist National Origin Story given a Nordic cast in Forestilling om det Tyvende århundrede (1988; trans Barbara Haveland as The History of Danish Dreams 1995) – but which tend ultimately to transgress against mundane readings. His most famous single novel, Frøken Smillas fornemmelse for sne (1992; trans Tiina Nunnaly as Smilla's Sense of Snow 1993; also trans F David as Miss Smilla's Feeling for Snow 1993), filmed as Smilla's Sense of Snow (1997) directed by Bille August, reads initially as a crime novel with an outcome based upon consensual reality, but which climaxes in the revelation that a meteorite had crashed in the Arctic, bearing some form of Alien life. Kvinden og aben (1996; trans Barbara Haveland as The Woman and the Ape 1996) is an Apes as Human tale set initially in a dourly heightened London, specifically in a Near Future version of the London Zoo, where a highly intelligent ape named Erasmus and a zoologist's wife become partners and have Sex; as the tale closes, it is clear that she is pregnant by Erasmus. The infamous professional clown who is the protagonist of Den stille pige (2006; trans Nadia Christensen as The Quiet Girl 2007) applies his Psi Power – he is able acoustically to determine the mind-sets of those around him – to the problems of survival in a Near Future half-inundated Copenhagen; his antic maskedness, and his casual undermining of others' sense of reality (see Perception), illuminate some of Høeg's literary provenance, as he has clearly been influenced by European writers of the fantastic from E T A Hoffmann to Isak Dinesen [see also The Encyclopedia of Fantasy under links below]. The fourteen-year-old narrator of Elefantpassernes børn (2010; trans Martin Aitken as The Elephant Keepers' Children 2012) possesses a similar intrusive ability to manipulate the reality of others; the Psi Power possessed by the protagonist of Effekten af Susan (2014; trans Martin Aitken as The Susan Effect 2017), a conspiracy thriller, gives her the ability to compel those she encounters to tell her the truth. Høeg is a prominent example of the contemporary Mainstream Writer of SF. [JC]

Peter Høeg

born Copenhagen, Denmark: 17 May 1957


about the author


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