The Quiet Girl by Peter Høeg (Translated by Nadia Christiansen) - review by Rachel Hore

Rachel Hore

Aural Antics

The Quiet Girl


Harvill Secker 408pp £16.99

A sound knowledge of the works of J S Bach would be an asset in approaching Peter Høeg’s new literary thriller. Its protagonist, Kaspar Krone, is a famous circus clown with a special gift: an ability to hear people’s auras and hence to deduce all kinds of things about them, from illness to abuse. Sometimes an aura suggests a favourite piece of music to him, or a composer, especially his favourite Bach. I’ve no idea whether there’s any real-life evidence for such a gift, but divining auras sounds like a good late-night party game and certainly underpins an unusual storyline.

On one level this is a suspense narrative, set in contemporary Copenhagen, half of which lies underwater following an earthquake. Krone, a charismatic, larger-than-life character with a heart of gold, is about to be extradited to Spain, where he’s wanted for tax evasion, but at the last moment is promised

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