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Snow Hardcover – February 15, 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 1st edition (February 15, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0151002738
  • ISBN-13: 978-0151002733
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.7 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #9,181,396 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

A young woman whose marriage has not so inexplicably ended?it's clear that she is not very good at commitment?packs up her two cats and heads north, ending up in a snowbound cabin. Yes, she's about to exorcise all her demons, but it's not every coming-apart novel that features talking cats. Vinnie is prone to lecture our heroine, but he's devoted and reliable?he even struggles to devise snowshoes for himself. Sophie is the expressive one who makes up exquisite dances. Out in the blinding white snow to get provisions, the woman encounters an extremely obnoxious polar bear that she has apparently conjured up herself?her "worse nightmare," ready to take her back through her childhood. As those memories leak from an injury in her thigh, we see a little girl who has slowly had the life knocked out of her?until finally a mysterious visitor, somehow resembling a better version of the heroine, comes to the cabin to tend her. This debut by a playwright/actress may sound precious, preposterous, and obvious, and it is; but it's also intriguing, imaginative, and compulsively readable.?Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal"
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.

Review

Ms. Howie has the true storyteller's ability to command a reader's attention with the first paragraph. Her narrator is a woman of thirty whose affairs--mental, physical, marital, and financial--can all be filed under M for Mess. In desperation she packs up her two cats and heads north looking for snow. Snow becomes fantasy. One of the cats talks. A stupid and surly bear appears, along with images from the woman's past. At that point the author loses control of her psychotherapeutic parable; redundancy sets in, and with it boredom. This is a first novel, however, and the writer is worth watching. -- The Atlantic Monthly, Phoebe-Lou Adams

With its treacly whimsy about cat ballet and a card-playing polar bear, the book embodies its own vision of reincarnation, moving from human complexity to stupid pet tricks. -- The New York Times Book Review, Patrick Farrell

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 19, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Vivid imagery in this book places the reader alongside the author, to understand the probing questions, to feel the painful discoveries, and to applaud the healing insights she discovers in her struggle to find her true self. While the story line is fairly "heavy", the development of the "plot" is imaginative and delightful, making this a very enjoyable reading experience. One can almost believe in the actual existence of talking and dancing cats as well as Spam-loving bears - they come to life as observers of the world around them, offering support and insight when they are most needed. If read straight through in one sitting, the reader could overlook some of the profound truths as they are revealed. Betsy Howie demonstrates extraordinary insight into woman's truggle with the true meaning of life, love, and happiness in this ever-changing world. I could easily identify with the woman in the story, and thus found answers to some of my own questions and struggles. I await in eager anticipation for further books by Betsy Howie!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 23, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Betsy Howie's Snow took me a few pages to get into -- she starts without providing the context upon which we readers tend to depend. I also feared that the book would be an angst-filled and self-absorbed ramble...it starts out feeling that way. After 20 pages, I was hooked. With creativity, humor, and heart, Howie takes us through a woman's self-discovery and her meeting of herself. There were moments when I felt I had lost the storyline, but that was due to my concrete thinking rather than any fault of the author. She asks the reader to stretch reality, break out of the dictates of linear time and one-dimensional experience, and imagine an inner world as real and tangible as the one we usually think of as "reality." I loved the cat, Vinny, who gently encourages the narrator on her journey of self-discovery. I loved that Vinny, himself, ended up learning about self-acceptance, truth, and happiness. I recommend this book highly!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 9, 1998
Format: Hardcover
Lots of people beat stress by turning to large bodies of water. They swim, they fish, they daydream on these waters. The Atlantic, the Pacific, the Gulf--they each have calming properties. But our heroine hasn't heard of the healing properties of blue water, so she turns to an isolated cabin practically buried in the snow. Her healing starts when physical pain from the cold snow intrudes on the life of her mind. Each of her split personalities pulls together as she first succombs to her inner pain then triumphs over it. Survival in a snow bound cabin becomes her first priority. The reader is asked to make a tremendous suspension of disbelief in order to accept the heroine's cat with split personalities too. But if you can accept that she talks to herself as one of several personnas, then why not her cat?
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Plusle on September 17, 2002
Format: Hardcover
In the dead of winter, her marrige over, a young woman leaves the city with her two cats and drives north with little more than a few cans of Spam and the vague hope of reinventing herself from ground zero. Outside all is white, but inside, her live begins to unfold before her in vivid color. Wishes can come true in the cabin - but will Vinny the cat's one special wish finally help the woman find her way to a true sense of peace? A very surreal book, sometimes confusing, but never dull. The two cats - clever, talkative Vinny, who claims to have had thousands of past lives; the innocent, quiet dancer Sophie - and a dull witted yet loyal polar bear named Simon provided the humor, and the woman was a powerful, inspiring character. Unusual, but worth reading.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on August 12, 1998
Format: Hardcover
I'm usually a good judge of which books I'll love, but not this time. My friend warned me that Snow quickly disolves into psychobabble, but was worth reading for the cat antics. Right she was! Perhaps I didn't feel well the day I began reading this annoying book, but within the first 20 pages, I hated it. It was hard to finish, but I was intrigued with the unusual talents the cats displayed, and I kept hoping the story would become less uncomfortable to read. It just had no flow. The subject matter did not bother me, but the way it was written did. I hardly ever read a book I don't want to finish, but this one was a struggle. To the author's credit, I found Vinny and Sophie the cats very charming. Perhaps Ms. Howie's next book will be easier on the nerves.
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