"Yoon's gift as a writer is to reveal the meaning in the smallest moments...A subtle, elegant, poignant read."--Oprah.com "A spare novel, set in an unexpected bypath of history... At a certain point, I realized this wasn't going to be a regular novel--where we watch who does what to whom--but a book about solitude, the hardest thing to frame fiction around. The transplanted Yohan is a great observer of the physical world, but he can only reflect so far; other people are mysteries to him. Who would think you could make a story out of this? Mystery in the wider sense is what this novel evokes."--Joan Silber, "Favorite Books of 2013" "The Wall Street Journal " "Snow Hunters doesn't show any signs of catering to the masses. Electing lyricism over plot, texture over drama, Snow Hunters is a reserves, patient, and ultimately singular book." --Rain Taxi Review of Books "Paul Yoon proves himself well suited to the short form...the pleasures of Snow Hunters are many, and they begin with Yoon's prose, at once lyrical and precise...[the novel] is all the more powerful for its brevity."--Tatjana Soli "New York Times Book Review " "Paul Yoon offers a profound look at the consequences of war, and what it means to begin a new life in the wake of its devastations...Brief in length, Snow Hunters is truly expansive in its scope, and written in language as clear and bracing as snowmelt."--Sarah Shun-lien Bynum, author of Ms. Hempel Chronicles "Snow Hunters reads like a dream. In this quiet, evocative rendering, we espy lives muted by war, altered by loss and displacement, and ultimately mended by the salvaged threads of memories and love. Paul Yoon's writing intimates the emergence of a master stylist, each sentence a jewel to be admired."--Vaddey Ratner, author of In the Shadow of the Banyan "Paul Yoon's sentences are startlingly beautiful. Lucid and clean and resonant, they build, in Snow Hunters, to form a novel that is deceptively light and extraordinarily tender."--Lauren Groff, author of Arcadia and The Monsters of Templeton "At first glance Paul Yoon appears to be the perfect miniaturist, but behind every subtle gesture this novel shimmers with a deep and complex history. Snow Hunters is a beautiful and moving meditation on a solitary life."--Ann Patchett, author of State of Wonder and Bel Canto "The collection Once the Shore showcased Yoon's piercing powers of story and language; this novel continues his stunning trajectory with prose so pristine it feels supernatural."--Publishers Weekly
After surviving the Korean War, Yohan spends another year in a prisoner-of-war camp south of the new border that splits the country in two. Rather than return north, where no one awaits him, Yohan begins life anew in a faraway coastal Brazilian village as a Japanese tailor's apprentice. As the years pass, "He wondered what choice there was in what was remembered; and what was forgotten." Yohan soon realizes that his life both before and after the war has been defined by quiet relationships-first with his widowed father and a childhood friend, then with the tailor Kiyoshi, the church groundskeeper, and two parentless children: "that in their silences there had been a form of love." Having already lost family, friends, language, and country, Yohan slowly sheds his solitude when gentle Kiyoshi dies and opens up to the possibility of attachment and love. VERDICT Yoon's debut novel began as a 500-page draft pared down to about 200 pages that reveal the same shimmering, evocative spareness of his 2009 collection, Once the Shore. The result is that rare, precious gem, with every remaining word to be cherished for the many discarded to achieve perfection. One of this year's best reads. [See Prepub Alert, 2/11/13.]-Terry Hong, Smithsonian BookDragon, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2013. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.