An Unexpected Compliment

There are a handful of authors that I really admire. One such author is Peter Hoeg. His most famous work is Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. I was given a copy of it twenty two years ago when I was still in high school. I’d been captain of the school’s debating team and the teacher in charge gave me a copy as a thank you for the role. I didn’t read it right away; in fact it probably took close to two years to read it, but it was always on ‘the list.’ I loved the book, especially the philosophical elements. The description of Mathematics in it is beautiful. Soon, I had read all of the books Hoeg had published. He is an author whose works mean something to me.

In a delightful twist of fate, seventeen years after I received the book, I wound up working at a school with with the teacher who’d given it to me, and I was able to tell her how much the book meant to me and that I’d really appreciated her gift. If you ever want to know what keeps teachers going, little thank yous like this are certainly one of them. She was quite moved by my story and she let me know that she’d chosen it for me quite deliberately, as she herself had enjoyed it.

Hoeg wrote a book called The Susan Effect in his native Danish in 2014. It was translated and (finally) published this month. I am still reading it so will hold any reviews for now, although first impressions are that it is a great story, but the translation could be more polished. The other night, my wife picked up the book and read the blurb. Her response was that “no wonder you wanted this book, it sounds just like something you’d write!” Even though I don’t think I’m worthy of such a comparison, I accepted it as an unexpected compliment.



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