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The Snow Queen: A Novel Kindle Edition

155 customer reviews

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Length: 273 pages
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Editorial Reviews

From Booklist

*Starred Review* Like By Nightfall (2010), Cunningham’s elegant and haunting new novel examines the complex dynamics among a couple and a brother. In this configuration, Barrett Meeks, a poetically minded man in his late thirties who has just been dumped by his most recent boyfriend via text message, shares a Brooklyn apartment with Tyler, his older musician-bartender brother, and Beth, Tyler’s great love. Beth and Barrett work in Liz’s vintage shop. She’s 52; her current lover, Andrew, is 28. Beth is undergoing full-throttle treatment for cancer. Tyler is struggling to write the perfect love song for their wedding, and breaking his promise not to do drugs. Barrett, long afflicted by his flitting interest in everything, remains in an altered state after seeing a strangely animated “celestial light” over dark and snowy Central Park. As his characters try to reconcile exalted dreams and crushing reality, Cunningham orchestrates intensifying inner monologues addressing such ephemeral yet essential aspects of life as shifting perspectives, tides of desire and fear, “rampancy” versus “languidness,” and revelation and receptivity. Tender, funny, and sorrowful, Cunningham’s beautiful novel is as radiant and shimmering as Barrett’s mysterious light in the sky, gently illuminating the gossamer web of memories, feelings, and hopes that mysteriously connect us to each other as the planet spins its way round and round the sun. HIGH-DEMAND BACKSTORY: Pulitzer Prize–winning Cunningham will tour with this resplendent novel in sync with national advertising and extensive online promotion. --Donna Seaman


Regardless of your theological position on signs and wonders, that voice, Cunningham's inimitable style, is the real miracle of The Snow Queen. Sentence by sentence . . . he moves across the surface of these pages like some suave, literary god. Behold how he swoops in and out of Tyler's point of view, breaks the fourth wall, drops ironical quips, mocks and comforts in the same phrase . . . He writes so wisely about the cruel taunting of remission and the way illness both deepens and frays romantic relationships, endowing the dying with a kind of security and purpose that healthy people crave. His portrayal of the once-blessed Meeks brothers, raised in expectation of fame and riches they'll never attain--not even close--is full of affecting pathos. (Ron Charles, The Washington Post)

Product Details

  • File Size: 489 KB
  • Print Length: 273 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0007557671
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; Reprint edition (May 6, 2014)
  • Publication Date: May 6, 2014
  • Sold by: Macmillan
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00GL442SU
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #98,694 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Michael Cunningham is the author of the novels A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the Pen/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), and Specimen Days. He lives in New York.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

50 of 50 people found the following review helpful By James Hiller VINE VOICE on May 18, 2014
Format: Hardcover
After reading all of Michael Cunningham's books, starting with the miraculous "The Hours" to today, one thing is very clear. He loves commas. Commas, commas, commas, extending his sentences, so that one sentence can spin, and re-spin, in several different directions, sometimes individually, sometimes all at once, and then, so adroitly, coming back to the point of origin, and somehow, being the same and slightly different than when you first started reading these comma-laden sentences.

Surely, I jest. I am a Michael Cunningham fan. I have come to realize, after devouring his latest work "The Snow Queen", that I read him, not for incredibly compelling storytelling, but for his prose. He commands the language with an ease and deft that makes reading him, and his complex sentences, seem like little reading journeys. He paints New York City unlike any other author I can think of, making the city alive and recent. His gift in the technical skill of writing is not matched by his storytelling abilities.

The Snow Queen is about two brothers. Barrett, a gay sales clerk, sees a vision in Central Park one evening that seems to challenge his understandings about life. Tyler, a rock star wannabe, struggles with the current political scene and the health of his girlfriend Beth, who is fighting cancer. Cunningham, thankfully and successfully, manages to constrain the story to these two, and a few people in their immediate orbit. However, in the course of the story, where things happen to the characters, you are left wondering, by the end of the story, what this was truly all about.

For one thing, I didn't buy Tyler's political rantings through the book. They seemed incredibly misplaced and took me out of the story, or at least his character.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Roger Brunyate TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 10, 2014
Format: Hardcover
Michael Cunningham writes beautifully, there is no question about that. Almost every page of his new novel reads as elegantly as it looks on the page. His prose is lucid and refined, without any trace of over-elaboration; indeed, he has an endearing habit of making parenthetical remarks to himself in descriptive passages (such as "face it" or "remember that?") that gives a pleasantly informal air to the whole. You may not know these people, but feel you might, and know that if you did happen to meet you would be welcomed into their circle.

And the characters and their lives are also real: two forty-something brothers sharing an apartment in Brooklyn with the girlfriend of one of them. Barrett, the younger, is gay and works in a vintage store in Manhattan; on the way home one night, he sees a mysterious aqua light appear in the sky over Central Park, a miracle that he keeps to himself at first, but that turns him towards a kind of religion. Tyler, his older brother, is chasing his own miracle; a musician, he is still hoping for a breakthrough as a song-writer, and takes drugs to transport him to the necessary nirvana. Meanwhile, he is going ahead with his wedding to Beth (co-owner of the store where Tyler works), even though she is in the fourth stage of cancer.

I don't really remember the Hans Andersen story of the same title that Cunningham is apparently reworking here, nor am I sure of its essential point. Certainly, there is a lot of snow and ice imagery, literal and otherwise, and I think I see a common theme of two people (though by no means children here) living close together in an urban setting, until each finds a way to unlock something essential that had been frozen within them.
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38 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Denis Vukosav TOP 100 REVIEWER on May 2, 2014
Format: Audible Audio Edition
‘The Snow Queen’ written by Michael Cunningham, a previous Pulitzer Prize winner, a story in which are mixed humor and tragedy, emotions and fairy tale beauty, is a novel that confirms Cunningham status as one of the best storytellers of today's generation.

The author didn’t accidentally chose a name for his story, because just like in a children tale which bears the same name he manages to show how love can do everything, even melt the heart that seems forever frozen.

Same as was the case with previous Cunningham’s works, he again uses three main characters and their stories and interweaves them into a single story. This time these are two brothers – Barrett and Tyler, and Tyler’s ill girlfriend, who has recently been diagnosed with terminal cancer. Barrett is near his forties; he works in clothing store and he broke up recently with his brother Tyler, a drug addict. Tyler is a musician who never managed to sell anything, his life becoming even more miserable after learning that his girlfriend is dying.

The reader will find out that the two brothers became close after the tragic death of their mother, and that despite their age, actually both of them have never found themselves, thus figuratively speaking about one lost generation that exists today, just struggling to survive, without any specific purpose in life despite their talents. Around these three characters the author will build a story in which interweaves psychology, humor and tragedy of life - people who are equally friends and lovers, colleagues and family.
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