The Snow Queen

Editorial reviews

The Snow Queen

In this often doleful novel about remissions and relapses, hope and dejection, it is the hits of love, loyalty and exquisite language that provide the best highs.

This is a complicated, messy, peopled novel, and yet it has the slippery feel of a fable, an otherworldly quality in which everyday objects – a barge, a biscuit-coloured couch – acquire a strangeness, a temporary and oddly touching gleam.

The Snow Queen unravels itself as a story of struggle for the night-so-young in Brooklyn by those who are still at it when beauty and talent and love has disappointed them.

The Snow Queen is more pared-down than its predecessor, clean and sharp as an ice crystal; a brief but profound and poetic meditation on love, death and compassion from a master craftsman of language.

The Snow Queen bounce back and forth unendingly between periods of happiness, depression and something in between. So too, it seems, does the nation in which they live.

As it stands, The Snow Queen is prettily written, and not much else.

“The Snow Queen” eventually reveals itself to be insufficiently ambitious.

The result is arguably Mr. Cunningham’s most original and emotionally piercing book to date.