The Snow Queen (Anglais) Relié – 6 mai 2014
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Description du produit
Présentation de l'éditeur
Michael Cunningham's luminous novel begins with a vision. It's November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is inspired to look up at the sky; there he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Barrett doesn't believe in visions-or in God-but he can't deny what he's seen.
At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighbourhood of Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett's older brother, a struggling musician, is trying-and failing-to write a song for Beth, his wife-to-be, who is seriously ill. Tyler is determined to write a wedding song that will be not merely a sentimental ballad, but an enduring expression of love. Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion. Tyler grows increasingly convinced that only drugs can release his creative powers. Beth tries to face mortality with as much courage as she can summon.
Cunningham follows the Meeks brothers as each turns down a 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.
Biographie de l'auteur
MICHAEL CUNNINGHAM was raised in Los Angeles and now lives in New York. His first novel, A Home at the End of the World, was published in 1990, and his second, Flesh and Blood, in 1995. His work has been published in the New Yorker and Best American Short Stories 1989.--Ce texte fait référence à une édition épuisée ou non disponible de ce titre.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur Amazon.com
Not that I'm an avid fan of the action thriller, and can hardly wait for new and more spectacular plot twists. Many of my favorite reads involve extensive dialog, with characters bouncing ideas off each other, revealing personality traits, making sage remarks about life and its many facets - even if this doesn't further the plot line. But "The Snow Queen" involved too much unproductive navel gazing. Nothing happens. For a while, I thought that might be the main lesson of the book, i.e., that many people meander through life without a clue what they're doing - and when they do contemplate getting on with life, simply crumble when confronted with an excess of daunting choices and end up doing nothing.
I always peruse a smattering of Amazon reviews (both favorable and unfavorable) before deciding to read a book, and normally end up not only choosing those I'm enthusiastic about but also finding my initial reaction confirmed. So, I started "The Snow Queen" with a very favorable outlook, based on the preponderance of four- and five-star reviews, but my enthusiasm waned. I truly wanted to look forward to continued reading, but several times considered not finishing the book. I eventually did finish, but was not satisfied. Barrett's vision in the sky, for example, didn't seem to go anywhere, and Tyler's drug problems didn't lead to an epiphany. I didn't like or have empathy toward any of the characters in this book, with the possible exception of Beth, who dies.
The prose style is fine, the venue (New York) well depicted, and the characters believable, but for me it just didn't all come together.
“Nor is he [is] a pedant” (110).
“‘[It] Is that it? Does she do things because Liz would do them?” (176).
[Why are these flubs important? I’m not sure. Is the text copyedited by the same person who copyedits the print copy? If so, are these errors also present in the print copy? If not, why would there apparently be two different copy editors for different versions of the same text? And why in this day and age, after thirty years of computerized printing, should there be even ONE typo in a published book? Just asking.]
In The Snow Queen, the literary underpinnings are very accessible, as accessible as classic fairy tales and heroic fantasies of knights and ladies. They are the very stuff of childhood for those children who seem hardwired to appreciate drama and who spend time enhancing their reality by adding mental costumes and sets, by turning ordinary actions into medieval scenarios. These kids participate in these interactions which observers see as the mundane stuff of childhood, but which the children see as gleaming and mythical vignettes which may or may not involve princesses (queens) or knights trailing “shining capes of chain mail.” These images also give the author opportunities to dazzle us with linguistic magic.
We meet Barrett and Tyler. Barrett is our dreamer, Tyler our rock star, neither as larger-than-life as we or they would wish. They are brothers with a back story; their mom died when she was struck by lightning on a golf course, but not before making high school football star Tyler promise to always look after his younger brother Barrett, who is not as socially gifted.
These brothers are no longer young. Barrett should already have outgrown that fantasy dimension which lends his world its romantic tint. Tyler should have either succeeded as a musician or placed it secondary to a real career, or perhaps even tertiary to family and career.
Barrett wanders through Central Park as the novel begins on the way to the apartment where he lives with his brother and his brother’s dying fiancée, Beth. A mysterious light appears to him (and apparently only to him) as he crosses the park and he is stopped; he is not a believer in the light but he cannot deny the light. Is this light a message? Is this light about God or something else?
We first encounter Tyler rising from the bed he shares with the fragile and daintily frail, but lovely Beth, because it is snowing in their bedroom. She lies in her beauty and stillness on the bed as the snow falls and begins to pile up on the floor (the Snow Queen).
There is also the part of this story that is not ancient myth but more urban reality. Drugs like cocaine (snow) and heroine appear casually in Cunningham’s story, although users want to quit and there are suggestions that rehab has been tried and will be tried again. I can’t tell anymore, but I will say that, in a way, this is a coming of age story for people like us in 21st century America who have a very long adolescence. It’s a story of love and death with bits of literary adrenalin all over the place.