The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen

Book - 2014
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Michael Cunningham's luminous novel begins with a vision. It's November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is inspired to look up at the sky; there he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Barrett doesn't believe in visions-or in God-but he can't deny what he's seen.

At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighbourhood of Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett's older brother, a struggling musician, is trying-and failing-to write a song for Beth, his wife-to-be, who is seriously ill. Tyler is determined to write a wedding song that will be not merely a sentimental ballad, but an enduring expression of love. Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion. Tyler grows increasingly convinced that only drugs can release his creative powers. Beth tries to face mortality with as much courage as she can summon.

Cunningham follows the Meeks brothers as each turns down a different path in his search for transcendence. In subtle, lucid prose, he demonstrates a profound empathy for his conflicted characters and a singular understanding of what lies at the depth of the human soul.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins Publishers, c2014
Edition: 1st Canadian ed
ISBN: 9781443433525
Branch Call Number: CUN
Characteristics: 258 p. ;,22 cm


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Feb 22, 2015

Remember how Seinfeld prided itself on being about nothing? But it was still funny most of the time?

This book is a profoundly unfunny Seinfeld book about nothing. The characters were blah, nothing happened and the title appeared to have absolutely no relationship to anything actually in the book.

Jul 21, 2014

Not quite to my taste

Michael Colford Jun 15, 2014

Michael Cunningham is a talented writer, and his prose is always a joy to read, but in his latest novel, The Snow Queen, I felt the story wasn't quite fully realized. There are some intriguing ideas -- around life, death, love, siblings, success, songwriting, caring -- but it's unclear what it all amounts to.

Still, despite a slow start, Cunningham's latest novel builds nicely and the threads do start to come together nicely in the last quarter of the book. Sadly, a Michael Cunningham novel only comes along once every few years, so it's disappointing when they don't all reach the heights that his previous work does. Definitely worth a read.

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