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The Snow Queen

Michael Cunningham's luminous, compassionate new novel begins with a vision. 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 neighborhood of Brooklyn, Beth, who's engaged to Barrett's older brother ,Tyler, is dying of colon cancer. Beth, Tyler, and Barrett have cobbled together a more or less happy home. Tyler, a struggling musician with a drug problem, is trying and failing to write a wedding song for his wife-to-be - something that will be not 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. Beth tries to face mortality with as much courage and stoicism as she can summon.Cunningham follows the Meeks brothers as each turns down a decidedly different path in his 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 depth of the human soul.`The Snow Queen', beautiful and heartbreaking, comic and tragic, proves once again that Cunningham is one of the great novelists of this generation.
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About the Author

Michael Cunningham is the author of six novels, including `A Home at the End of the World', `Flesh and Blood', `The Hours' (winner of the PEN / Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), `Specimen Days' and `By Nightfall', as well as `Land's End: A Walk in Provincetown'. He lives in New York.


`What gives "The Snow Queen" heft and substance is [Cunningham's] gift for language, and the precision with which he anatomises his characters' most secret thoughts. He writes beautifully ... he never averts his gaze from the most uncomfortable and painful complexities of feeling. But the book is also shot through with a dark humour ... Clean and sharp as an ice crystal; a brief but profound and poetic meditation on love, death and compassion from a master craftsman of language' Stephanie Merritt, Observer`Luminously written... page-turningly enjoyable, this is a profound ... novel about love from a highly regarded, Pulitzer-winning novelist.' Sunday Times`The pursuit of transcendence in all kinds of forms - music, drugs, a McQueen minidress, and those things less tangible but no less powerfully felt - drives Michael Cunningham's best novel in more than a decade' Megan O'Grady, Vogue`A thoughtful, closely wrought novel about creativity and dissipation ... What really strikes is Cunningham's remarkable control of tone, his ability to maintain a kind of muted ardency. This is a complicated, messy, peopled novel, and yet it has the slippery feel of a fable, an otherworldly quality in which everyday objects - a barge, a biscuit-coloured couch - acquire a strangeness, a temporary and oddly touching gleam.' Olivia Laing, Guardian`The Pulitzer Prize-winning author of "The Hours" tells the poignant story of two brothers grappling with religion, ageing and loss.' Mail on Sunday`Michael Cunningham's resonant new novel . . . is arguably [his] most original and emotionally piercing book to date. It's a novel that does not rely heavily on literary allusions and echoes for its power-a story that showcases the author's strengths as a writer' Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

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