The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham


The Snow Queen by Michael Cunningham

hardcover, 2014

"It's November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is suddenly and inexplicably inspired to look up at the sky, where he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Although Barrett doesn't believe in visions - or in God, for that matter - he can't deny what he's seen.

At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighbourhood of Brooklyn, Barrett's older brother, Tyler, a struggling musician with a drug problem, 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 be merely a sentimental ballad but an enduring expression of eternal love.

Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion. Tyler grows increasingly convinced that only drugs can release his deepest creative powers. And as Beth tries to face mortality with as much courage as she can summon, she is aided by her friend Liz, a cynical but perversely maternal older woman.

Cunningham follows Barrett, Tyler, Beth, and Liz as they travel down decidedly different paths in their collective 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 once again that Michael Cunningham is one of the great novelists of this generation."

-from the dust jacket