20th Century

Smilla’s sense of Snow

by Peter Høeg

This book is a murder mystery about Miss Smilla, who grew up in Greenland and developed a special understanding for all types of snow. The story begins in Copenhagen where a 6 year old child has fallen to his death from a roof. The police refuse to consider it anything but an accident—there is only one set of footprints (the child’s) in the snow leading to the edge of the roof—but Smilla believes there is something about the footprints that shows that the boy was chased off the roof.

In 1997 Danish director Bille August made the book into a movie starring Julia Ormond as Smilla.

Author Lisa See (Snow Flower and the Secret Fan) has given the book 5 out of 5 stars on Goodreads.


The Boys from St. Petri

by Bjarne Reuter

This book is set in Denmark during World War II and tells the story of St. Petri, a group of young men, who fight to defend their home in Denmark against Nazi rule. In 1995 the novel received the Mildred L. Batchelder Award – an American award for outstanding children’s books originally published in a foreign language.

This book was also made into a movie with Nikolaj Lie Kaas as one of the young men.


Hornet Flight

by Ken Follett

Hornet Flight is about a daring young Danish couple, who escape to Britain from occupied Denmark in a rebuilt Hornet Moth biplane with vital information about German radar. Go to the authors website and read more about the book. You can also hear Ken Follett discuss Hornet Flight.

Some of the reviews on Goodreads are saying: “Completely satisfying!!!!” – “Ken Follett has done it again” – “… hard to put down”. Enough to put it on my to-read list :-)


The Fishermen

by Hans Kirk

This story is set in a fishing village in Northern Jutland in the 1920′s. The major themes in the book are religion and sin, but it’s also a portrait of life, love and suffering. I have read that The Fishermen is the bestselling , danish novel of all time – if it’s true, I don’t know!

The Fishermen was adapted into a 6 hour film in 1977.


Stolen Spring

by Hans Scherfig

Hans Scherfig wrote this book in 1940, and it was made into a movie in 1993. It’s a Danish classic set in 1920′s Copenhagen and it’s about a sadistic teacher, who gets murdered by one of his students. I read this book in school (years ago!) and I mostly remember it was a short and easy read novel. I quote from Goodreads reviews: “An important piece of literature that any person related to Denmark should’ve read” – “the novel is quite funny if you have a dark sense of humor“.

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