Cold Enough for Snow
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Inaugural winner of the international biennal Novel Prize, and unanimously chosen from over 1500 entries.
A novel about the relationship between life and art, and between language and the inner world – how difficult it is to speak truly, to know and be known by another, and how much power and friction lies in the unsaid, especially between a mother and daughter. A young woman has arranged a holiday with her mother in Japan. They travel by train, visit galleries and churches chosen for their art and architecture, eat together in small cafés and restaurants and walk along the canals at night, on guard against the autumn rain and the prospect of snow. All the while, they talk, or seem to talk: about the weather, horoscopes, clothes and objects; about the mother’s family in Hong Kong, and the daughter’s own formative experiences. But uncertainties abound. How much is spoken between them, how much is thought but unspoken? Cold Enough for Snow is a reckoning and an elegy: with extraordinary skill, Au creates an enveloping atmosphere that expresses both the tenderness between mother and daughter, and the distance between them.
‘So calm and clear and deep, I wished it would flow on forever.’ — Helen Garner
‘Rarely have I been so moved, reading a book: I love the quiet beauty of Cold Enough for Snow and how, within its calm simplicity, Jessica Au camouflages incredible power.’ — Edouard Louis
‘The quiet intimacy of Jessica Au’s novella is beautifully affecting, the unnamed narrator’s precise travelogue triggering reflections on home, childhood and relationships…It is melancholic and wistful, but Au finds grace and succour in the small act of observing people, places and art.’ — The Guardian