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Wednesday Weekly

The Snow Queen

Michael Cunningham


Hello. I am stopping in again with another review for you. Today it is about 90 something out there. I think that this is the hottest day we have had this year. Right now the windows are open, because the air is broken, again and it doesn’t feel all that bad!! How about a little snow to cool things down with The Snow Queen?

I found this at the library. It is a current release this year. It was released in January and May of 2014. It is short at only 256 pages for those who are intimated by large novels. This book gives one a lot to think about. It could be a good conversation starter for a book club, but as entertainment I think it falls short. What this guy won a Pulitzer Prize?

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 neighborhood of Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett’s older brother, a struggling musician, is trying—and failing—to write a wedding song for Beth, his wife-to-be, who is seriously ill. Tyler is determined to write a song that will not be 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 travels 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 core of the human soul. The Snow Queen, beautiful and heartbreaking, comic and tragic, proves again that Cunningham is one of the great novelists of his generation (Goodreads).

Hmmm. Where to start with this one? Well I almost put it down when I found it was another gay fiction book, but then I thought no I will read it. This is not really my type of book and I could not connect with the story or the characters. I don’t know that I got the message or the point of this story. These characters all seemed very lost to me. There was drugs, sex and infidelity, occasional foul language and gay relationships. There was political commentary and opinions thrown in here and there randomly. Definitely an adult book, not something for the youngsters!!!

There is the vision of the supernatural light that Barrett saw which I thought was a little farfetched and hokey. I was hoping that the characters would get their acts together and that this would have a happy ending, but that doesn’t really happen. I am at a loss about this one. I am still wondering about what the point is? I get that it is about love and relationships and the rest is sort of lost on me. I could not figure out who the Snow Queen is? Is it Beth? Is it Liz? I am not sure I will ever figure it out!!! Somebody fill me in on this one!!! I think that this was one of the most bizarre books I have read. Do yourself a favor and read something else!! LOL!! I give this book 2.5 out of 5 stars.




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