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The Quiet Girl by Peter Hoeg
The Quiet Girl's protagonist is Kasper Krone, a famous circus clown with a gambling problem who is about to be extradited from his native Denmark to Spain because of tax problems. Kasper also possesses the ability to hear people's acoustic essence, detecting their mood and spirit in musical form. A group of nuns offer to negotiate a settlement for him if he helps them with their special children who are under their care. One of these is a girl named KlaraMaria, the quiet girl of the novel's title, who also has the special ability to hear God's symphony through people's moods. When she is kidnapped by those who want to use her special abilities to further their own nefarious goals, Kasper must go in search of her. This new novel from Peter Hoeg (Smilla's Sense of Snow) has received mixed reviews with the Chicago Sun-Times saying, "In the end, The Quiet Girl seems like two different novels -- one a philosophical treatise, the other an adrenaline-laced thriller -- that don't easily meet on common ground. It is a story wrapped in enigmas that build to a screeching pitch and leave you dizzy and stunned. But it's the melancholy wit of Hoeg's writing that keeps you engaged, and hoping Kasper finally does come to terms with his place in the world."