The Snow Collectors
DescriptionHaunted by the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a Northeastern village where the snow never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of the forest, she's plunged into the mystery of a centuries-old letter regarding one of the most famous stories of Arctic exploration--the Franklin expedition, which disappeared into the ice in 1845.
At the center of the mystery is Franklin's wife, the indomitable Lady Jane. Henna's investigation draws her into a gothic landscape of locked towers, dream-like nights of snow and ice, and a crumbling mansion rife with hidden passageways and carrion birds. But it soon becomes clear that someone is watching her--someone who is determined to prevent the truth from coming out.
Suspenseful and atmospheric, The Snow Collectors sketches the ghosts of Victorian exploration against the eerie beauty of a world on the edge of environmental collapse.
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About the AuthorTina May Hall lives and teaches in upstate New York. Her collection of stories, The Physics of Imaginary Objects, won the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize. She is the recipient of an NEA grant, and her stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Wigleaf, and other journals.
-Anne Sanow, author of Triple Time, winner of the 2009 Drue Heinz Literature Prize "This enigmatic collection comprises curious musings on the convergence of the natural and human worlds. [Delivers] atmospheric and dreamlike stories sure to fascinate."
-Publishers Weekly "[Hall] marries plot to the beauty of her prose--but her priorities are lyricism first, narrative second. She's concerned with relationships, the hidden lives of objects, and the death of beauty. She's concerned with those tiny, everyday moments that reverberate throughout our lives, a beacon of otherworldliness in an ordinary world."
-The Rumpus "Hall's pungent writing breaks down walls between poetry and prose, narrator and reader, humor and horror. These stories, a daunting cross between Rikki Ducornet and early Jayne Anne Phillips, reveal the author's fascination with life and death, the confusion of hunger with other needs, and the bureaucratic tyranny of forms: sonnets and novellas, chapters and verses."
-Los Angeles Times "One of the most breathtaking books you will read this year. The stories are dense and elegant and oftentimes strange but always engaging.Hall is a master sentence crafter. She put words together in really complex, beautiful ways. . . As I read each story I was left with a profound sense of awe for the intelligence and grace with which this collection was written."
-Roxane Gay, HTMLGIANT "One of the best [collections of fiction] I've read in a very long time. Reach out into the darkness and take its hand, fall in love with the shadows, and open yourself up to the unknown."
-The Nervous Breakdown "It looks like prose to the eye, but it's memorable for the beauty and rhythm of the language, and it longs to be read aloud. . . Some stories in the collection have a traditional structure, but their magic is still in the poetry."
-Wall Street Journal "Occasionally you stumble across a piece of literary fiction so eloquent in its style, honest in its material, and direct in its approach that it resonates with you days, weeks, years after you read it. The Physics of Imaginary Objects is one of these intelligent, enlightening, and brazen books that you'll want to place on your shelf at eye-level so you will remember to keep picking it up. Hall's poetic style and articulate precision give this book a revolutionary quality. It nudges you along with an air of solemn importance and modest wisdom. Expertly composed and awesomely beautiful, Hall's hybrid of poetry and prose is neither sparse nor excessive, sentimental nor detached, diffident nor ostentatious."
-Newpages.com "What Hall does is what art aims to do at its best: she elevates the ordinary or even ugly to expose the truth about people, the human struggle to love and be loved, by one's spouse, by one's offspring, all in the search of a happy ending."
"Intoxicating...the dreamy Gothic atmosphere is redolent of candlelight and incense, marked by damask decorations and houses ablaze against the snow. Its brutality tempered by its lovely phraseology, The Snow Collectors is an unusual mystery whose quirks are worth giving in to."
--Foreword Reviews (starred) "A deliciously creepy atmosphere...An inventive premise, lush imagery, and shameful historical secret."
--Kirkus Reviews "Hall seamlessly weaves dreamlike imagery with descriptions of police procedure and scientific inquiry ... This elegant account of a woman's confrontation with a cover-up delivers historical intrigue and emotional depth."
--Publishers Weekly "If Joan Aiken had set out to write Rebecca, The Snow Collectors might have been the result. An orphaned woman discovers a body and pushes her way into a concatenation of events that at first seems to offer her love but soon curves toward her own destruction. Dark and eccentric, quirky in all the right ways, and beautifully written, this is the story of someone who, like so many of us, keeps trying to unravel a mystery well past the moment when she knows she should stop."
--Brian Evenson, author of Last Days "Hall has written a lovely, lush, surrealist book...atmospheric, compelling, and beautiful, infused with gentle, earthy fantasy and a soft push into the future, drawing deeply on the gothic genre. Hall's book is poetic and ghostly, haunting the reader with its intriguing story and its evocative imagery of ice."
--Booklist "Tina May Hall's magnificent heroine Henna--an ingenious cross between Nancy Drew, a Charlotte Bronte character, and a cynical Gen-Xer--is the best thing that's going to happen to you this year. This novel, which is a tale of love and longing, fear and grief, is also a deep meditation on snow and the power of water to both ravage and save us. I loved every page. The tiny Antarctic flash chapters and the longer, snowed-in rural Northern New York chapters twine together to produce an exquisite rope of tension. Hall's language is crisp and fresh and wholly authentic as it pulls you through both the 19th and 21st centuries. This book shimmers like an icicle in the seeping dusk."
--Sherrie Flick, author of Thank Your Lucky Stars "The Snow Collectors is a wonder of a book, and Tina May Hall is a wonder of a writer. In lyrical, precise prose, Hall draws us into the snow-globed labyrinth of a dead body and the ghosts of a nineteenth-century expedition within a novel that is equal parts mystery, gothic fiction, and experimental innovation. Hall's work occupies the liminal space between poetry and prose, and this novel is an atmospheric marvel that is both ethereal and impossible to put down."
--Anne Valente, author of Our Hearts Will Burn Us Down "Eerie, atmospheric, and unexpected--this gorgeously written book grips hold of you from the first page and doesn't let go."
--Kamila Shamsie, author of Home Fire "At first, The Snow Collectors seems all subtle piecework, every sentence exquisite, combining icy clarity with sensual surprise. Yet in no time the novel reveals more, the stains and strains of our human messes. Altogether, it proves a miraculous amalgam: a grief narrative, a Gothic romance, a cold-case mystery, and a tale of climate catastrophe. I came away ravished."
--John Domini, author of MOVIEOLA! and The Color Inside a Melon