Rating: 5 stars
Read for the Reader’s Room European Backpacking Challenge.
Years ago my friend Sharon lent me Peter Høeg’s novel Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow. I loved it.
I read Borderliners as well. I didn’t love it as much as Miss Smilla but it was still good.
I haven’t read anything by Peter Høeg since then. I needed a book set in Denmark or written by someone Danish for the reading challenge I’ve been doing this summer. Looking around online I discovered that Høeg’s latest book was out in paperback. I read the blurb and it sounded like fun. Continue reading
Rating: 5 stars
What an incredible book. Horrifying and hopeful in equal measure. It is a fiction, but it is born out of fact. Jensen has researched the history of Danish shipping town Marstal and woven a beautiful tale of all that is good and bad in humanity. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it at first. The opening chapter seemed flippant. However, once more characters were introduced and Jensen’s almost Conradian understanding of humanity took hold, I was completely gripped. It is a tale spanning 100 years of a town’s history, and a story of how people deal with their moments of ugliness through fellowship.
As well as the excitement of the characters’ adventures at sea, there is also a deep understanding of what it is to be human. The good and the bad in people is described unflinchingly. The characters deal with their weaknesses and inadequacies through fellowship. As I was reading, I kept thinking about Joseph Conrad’s writing, and I was pleased to see Conrad acknowledged by Jensen, who had drawn on The Shadow Line for detail about what it was like to be an inexperienced sea captain at the end of the 19th century. It prompted me to read The Shadow Line straight after.