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House Under Snow (Harvest Book) Paperback – June 1, 2003


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Product Details

  • Series: Harvest Book
  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Mariner Books; Reprint edition (June 1, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0156027461
  • ISBN-13: 978-0156027465
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,066,638 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Bialosky is an editor at Norton, already esteemed as a poet (Subterranean), and this lacerating first novel bears many traces of a poet's imagery and concentration. It is the story of a mother with three young daughters, devastated by the accidental death of her husband and the toll it takes on all their lives. Hardest hit is the mother, insecure but sexually enticing Lilly Crane, whose dreamy self-regard quickly turns rancid. She spends hours primping for new boyfriends, enters into a hasty and doomed second marriage and gradually, as her romantic disasters accumulate, withdraws into sleep and forgetfulness. It is a terrifying portrait, drawn with a fierce mix of love, regret and open-eyed candor. Her 15-year-old daughter Anna, the narrator, has many crosses to bear; apart from worrying about her sisters, 14-year-old Louise and 16-year-old Ruthie, both of whom find their own uneasy escapes from an intolerable situation, she suffers the agonies of a first love with a boy she depends on until she gradually realizes he is more fragile than she is. These relationships, drawn with great subtlety and an almost Lawrentian poetry and sensuality, are at the heart of the book, but the setting - suburban Cleveland in the '60s and '70s - is also evoked with telling detail and a wondrous sense of the difficulties of endurance. The central image, of a life almost stifled out of existence, is brilliantly maintained, and the ultimate effect of the book is to evoke a powerful sense of life's infinite mysteries, flourishing amid its squalors and terrors.
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Poet Bialosky (Subterranean) perfectly captures the confusion, passion, and pain of teenage love in her first novel. Anna Crane narrates the story of her childhood during the Sixties and Seventies, when she lived in a small Ohio town. During high school, she falls in love with Austin, a boy who works as a groom and trainer at the horse track. But this novel is not just another saga of teen love; it is also the story of Anna's two sisters and, most dramatically, of their mother's desperate and self-destructive race to look beautiful, go out on dates, and remarry after the early death of her first husband. When the parallel romances of mother and daughter converge, this haunting and powerful novel ends with a shattering realization. The characters are original and clearly defined, the story is well paced and plotted, and the writing is poetic and lyrical. This stunning fictional debut is recommended for all public libraries. Yvette W. Olson, City Univ. Lib., Bellevue, WA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Customer Reviews

This was a captivating read.
Mercedes J.
The author makes deliberate, almost constant use of foreshadowing, perhaps in an attempt to get the reader to stick with the book and not lay it down for good.
A reader
I also recommend Prep, another great teenage novel.
Olive Oyl

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A reader on January 23, 2004
Format: Hardcover
It's taken me a while to get through this book partly because I'm not very excited about the plot and partly because the author's self-conscious writing style really annoys me. There are lovely phrases here and there, but there are plenty of others that read like something you'd find in a greeting card--they try hard to impress and fail. The author makes deliberate, almost constant use of foreshadowing, perhaps in an attempt to get the reader to stick with the book and not lay it down for good. I'm contemplating the latter.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Mercedes J. TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on September 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This was a captivating read. One that was very difficult to put down. It's the story of love, loss, and abandonment, told through the voice of Anna Crane. The story is told in a series of flashbacks, some when she's a child, others when she's a teenager, and finally when she's an adult.

Anna and her two sisters live with their lost mother Lilly in Ohio. Their father was killed when they were very young and Lilly hasn't been the same since. She's very recluse, and quite, hardly ever leaving the house and only spending time with her three girls. Then one day she decides things need to change. She begins dating, and for the next three years a steady stream of men are in and out of their home.

The girls (still only children) are not happy about this new arrangement, and begin to lose respect for their mother. Years go by, along with a new step-father, and Lilly seems only to be sinking deeper and deeper into herself. The girls at this point don't know what to do with her. Ruthie, the oldest, leaves to live with their aunt, and Anna, and Louise (the youngest) are left alone with her. Meanwhile Anna is struggling with her own demons in a very unhealthy teenage romance with her boyfriend Austin.

The story closes with her mother committing the ultimate betrayal against Anna, and her battle with herself to forgive, and look at her mother for who she is, a lost soul, floating from one day to the next never real aware of her actions. I definitely recommend this book. It's an enchanting look at what tragedy, death, and loneliness can to do the human spirit. I'll most certainly be keeping an eye out for more from this talented author.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Romantic Anna on March 19, 2004
Format: Paperback
Lilly is the epitome of a damaged woman whose actions are cruel and who is not even aware of the sorrow she inflicts on her daughters. I read this in a fit of absorption- I just had to know what would happen to Anna and her sisters. Lilly is utterly fascinating and maddening at once. The author is genius at writing about a time and place, with fantastic details. i do think she writes very self-consciously, in hyper poetic prose. I still think this novel is a treasure.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 27, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
House Under Snow is a hauntingly beautiful book that explores the conflict between expectation and desire in a family of women. The tension of opposite forces constantly at work--a young widowed mother who cannot escape the desires that shaped her, her daughters'subsequent struggle to come of age, the juxtaposition of their troubled house against suburban expectations--makes this novel wise and compelling, sad and triumphant. As a poet, Ms. Bialosky fills her book with rich, lyrical language and the power of her observations which are sharp, knowing and profound. I loved this book and narrator Anna's voice stayed in my head long after I'd finished it.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 12, 2002
Format: Hardcover
Surprisingly, I couldn't put the book down, a real page turner. The ending certainly took me by surprise. Frightenly so, this novels captures the essence of family surburban life. The characters were truly believable, especially in the manner Bialosky captures Anna and Austin's teenage love affair. Very moving and beautifully written. Bialosky is a great story teller.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 26, 2003
Format: Hardcover
I read this book and thought I'd read it before. It is a genre book: misery in the family. On top of that, the book is repetious; the same thing happens again and again. The mother rallies, then falls apart. I always finish a book I start, but now I'm reconsidering that rule.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on July 11, 2003
Format: Paperback
Jill Bialosky's roman a clef is an unforgettable, haunting rendering of what happens to a suburban household of beautiful women frozen by the spectre of inescapable tragedy. 15-year-old protagonist, Anna Crane, recounts her valiant struggle to escape the seductive narcissism of her loving yet destructive mother Lily, whose attempts to overcome the obstacles of daily living can be found in idiomatic invectives and cosmetic counters. There is a fragile sensitivity to the prose which often feels like breaking glass, and a frightening verisimilitude of the reality of three young sisters raising themselves while vying for the attentions of their compelling yet elusive mother. Part ICE STORM, part HOUSEKEEPING, this book vividly shatters the suburban dream.
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By Kothari on October 7, 2002
Format: Hardcover
I really enjoyed this book. After starting the book, I didn't think I would like it, but I soon couldn't put it down. The story goes back and forth in time very smoothly, making it even more of a page-turner. The language is beautiful and modern at the same time. The characters are very real and I could relate to each one of them in a different way.
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