Peter Hoeg’s new novel is a high-concept thriller


The Susan Effect. By Peter Hoeg. Translated by Martin Aitken. Harvill Secker; 352 pages; £16.99.

IN A summer of nuclear threats and bluffs, a futurist thriller about looming global catastrophe will appeal to readers who like their holidays to contain a prickle of dread. Peter Hoeg, a Danish author who is still best known for his 1992 bestseller, “Miss Smilla’s Feeling for Snow”, takes a circuitous route towards a Hollywood-style showdown in which social breakdown, environmental disaster and atomic weapons in rogue hands mean that “the scenarios of apocalypse are unfolding now”. What is more, the venue for this panic-attack is serene Copenhagen; the date, Christmas 2018. The world’s time, Mr Hoeg insists in his entertaining if cartoonish confection, is fast running out.

Mr Hoeg reverts to the Smilla model with another spookily gifted heroine, this time Susan Svendsen, a quantum physicist. Beyond her maverick…Continue reading

Powered by WPeMatico

Personal pronouns are changing fast

NOT so long ago a man could be jailed in Texas for sex with another man. In 2015 a county clerk in Kentucky was jailed for refusing to certify the marriage of two men. Gay rights in America proceeded at an extraordinary rate between Lawrence v Texas (2003), in which …

Giorgio Vasari, the man who created art history

Vasari made craftsmen into stars The Collector of Lives: Giorgio Vasari and the Invention of Art. By Ingrid Rowland and Noah Charney. Norton; 432 pages; $29.95 and £23.99. TOWARDS the end of his life Michelangelo Buonarroti, the most famous artist of the Italian Renaissance, began burning his drawings. He did …

Esther Kinsky muses on a river in England

Esther Kinsky goes with history’s flow River. By Esther Kinsky. Translated by Iain Galbraith. Fitzcarraldo; 368 pages; £12.99. To be published in America this autumn by Transit Books. IN HER post-war childhood beside the Rhine, the narrator of Esther Kinsky’s third novel learns that “every river is a border.” Flowing …