Sunday 15 March 2015

The Snow Queen

Finished March 15, 2015
The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

This novel is set in New York City and takes place over a 4 year period from just before the 2004 US elections to just before the 2008 US elections.
It follows a few related characters. Barrett is a middle-aged gay man who has just been dumped, and he isn't sure why. When he is walking home one night, he experiences a light in the sky that has a significant effect on him, but that he feels should lead to more. Barrett lives with his older brother Tyler and Tyler's girlfriend Beth. Beth is fighting cancer, and Tyler spends much of his time looking out for and after her. Barrett works in a small store that sells trendy merchandise, new and used, a store owned by his friend Liz. Liz started the store with Beth.
Despite his promising education, Barrett's life is one of the working poor. Tyler's role has been to look out for him, hence the living arrangements.
We see their relationship change over this period of time, and we also see their relationships with lovers change.
The morning after Barrett sees the light, Tyler awakens to a room whose open window has allowed snow to come in, and as he moves to close it, a piece of snow lodges in his eye. This and other references throughout relate this tale to the classic fairy tale of the snow queen.
This is a novel of relationships, of their changing nature, and of the serendipity of meetings that can lead to new relationships. An interesting novel.


  1. Yes Irene, it was an interesting read.

  2. Michael Cunningham used to be on my auto-buy list. He sort of got crowded out more recently, but I do really want to read this one.