Danish writer Peter Hoeg (Høeg), the author of Smilla’s Sense of Snow, very rarely gives interviews. Now he has allowed himself to be interviewed in Danish Ekstrabladet to promote his new book, Elefantpassernes børn (roughly “The Elephant Watchers’ Children). That actually is quite an event.
His previous book, the novel Den stille pige (The Quiet Girl) was published in 2006. Before that, from 1996 – when he published Kvinden og aben (The Woman and the Ape) – to 2006, he stayed away from the media and did not publish anything. During that time he moved to Jylland (Jutland), to the town of Nørre Snede, where he lives a quiet life with his wife and children and devote a lot of his time to meditation.
The new novel by Peter Hoeg is a humorous novel about three teenage siblings – Peter, Tilte and Hans Finø – that look for their parents, and are on the run from the authorities. As in several of the previous novels, the boundaries between the real, the fable, and the extra-ordinary are blurred. Peter Hoeg says it is the “lightest and happiest book he has ever written.”
Religion is one of the themes discussed in the novel. Peter Hoeg says that the Danish philosopher “Søren Kierkegaard said that religion was so serious that it could not tolerate humor. I totally disagree! … The bigger the topic, the more important humor is,” says Peter Hoeg. He describes his books as “playgrounds where everything is permitted.”
I have already started to look forward to reading this new book, as I am sure thousands of other readers following Peter Hoeg has.