Thursday, August 03, 2017
The Quiet Girl
We often listen to a book on long car journeys and we took along several on our recent trip to Newfoundland. We stoked the CD player through five provinces on our way home with Peter Hoeg's novel, The Quiet Girl. We'd read Hoeg's acclaimed Smilla's Sense of Snow so we thought we would give The Quiet Girl a listen.
To be honest, we both thought it lost it's energy and drama in the latter stages of the story, yet we enjoyed it immensely for other reasons. The central figure is a circus clown and musician and child psychologist who risks life and limb to solve the mysterious disappearance of a number of children, including the young girl of the title. Along the way nuns and monks get involved in the story.
The novel becomes a meditation on God (called She Almighty by the clown detective) prayer, silence, music (Bach's Goldberg Variations particularly.) You have to love a protagonist who quotes the Church Mothers and Fathers in casual conversation. As we listened, the person in the passenger seat had the task of jotting down notable phrases and quotes. We even searched out some iPod Bach to punctuate our listening.
Lest this sounds overly serious, we laughed out loud at times at some of the droll observations and repartee. I'm waiting for word that the novel is in at the library because I want to go back through certain sections, particularly the parts about inner stillness and silence.
In the end we agreed that Hoeg is a remarkable philosopher and theologian even if we were less than satisfied with the concluding chapters of the novel.
Has anyone read The Quiet Girl?