Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Snow (1999)

I've always stayed in love with the little book Snow by Maxence Fermine.

The book has been translated into seventeen languages for a reason. Well, many reasons.

But probably mostly because it's so beautiful and because it's about transcendental love.

On Goodreads, it has over 1,000 reviews and averages three and a half stars out of five, but this doesn't surprise me because it's a little book sure to divide.

Some find it a bit fey and though I didn't read the actual reviews there I''m wondering if anyone might have even charged the book with Orientalism, that crime of yesteryear. If you don't remember the days of Orientalism in literature, the gravamen of the charge is that Eastern subject matter is filtered through a Western mind which has fetishized and commoditized that culture and completely misunderstood or idealized aspects of it.

I don't take the book that way at all since I believe the book's heart.

It's really a darker fairy tale that just happens to be set in that part of the world.

I think it's really sad that this internationally successful author has only a third of the number of fans that lowly, largely non-publishing bullfrog I do on Goodreads. And I'm never even on there. I mean neither of us has a large number. But it's still strange. I only looked at that count because I never hear anybody mention this author EVER and I figured he has to have a huge number of fans for this early cult novel (he's since published many books--which I want to check out). Maybe the majority of Fermine's reviews come from other non-anglophone countries and they don't engage with the intricacies of Goodreads at length.

I wonder if the author has written about his Tunisian years.

The ending of the book (no spoiler alert really needed, oddly enough):

"And they loved each other
suspended on a thread
of snow."

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