Cover Image: Cold Enough for Snow

Cold Enough for Snow

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date:

Member Reviews

An elegant and simple novel about loneliness, isolation, mothers and daughters who have drifted apart. The story is told through several moments (and memories, flashbacks). An unnamed mother and a daughter meet in Tokyo to have a trip. The daughter lives in Aus with her partner and the mother has moved houses. They meet at a common city to embark on this trip. However this trip seems more important to the daughter than the mother. We also try to understand the relationship between the sisters in the family. The prose is dream-like and meditative. Often what is unsaid or remembered gives us an understanding of the distance between the mother and the daughter. Slim and wonderful.
Was this review helpful?
I had a few download issues with the book and by the time it was sorted, the file had unfortunately been achieved. Happy to re-review if it becomes available again.
Was this review helpful?
So beautifully written prose that involves moves me.A mother and daughter on a trip in Tokyo.In their quiet days of touring visiting a world off emotions memories are revealed,There is something so special in thee writing I found myself slowing my reading speed down to absorb the emotions the relationship.A wonderful book I will be recommending.#netgalley #Coldenoughforsnow.
Was this review helpful?
A mother and a daughter travel to Tokyo. What unfolds is elegiac and spectral, at once one voice, perhaps two. Through the journey and its interwoven memories, we explore the relationship between these two people and the world around them, the way we interact with each other and what is left when we are no longer leaving our footprint on the earth.

This is a beautiful short novel. Immediately immersive, simple in its language and presentation, there is something touching in the way the characters interact with each other. Au has mastered the art of leaving spaces amongst her words and I do think this will be a novel I will come back to again to explore the unspoken further.

There isn’t much more to say – it is beautifully written and touches something close to real humanity. Highly recommend.

Books in Steel City x

*Thanks Fitzcarraldo Editions and Netgalley for gifting me this copy in exchange for an honest review!
Was this review helpful?
“Jessica Au’s “Cold Enough For Snow” challenges our assumptions about what it means to uncover our stories – and ourselves.” Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker

From the Publisher
A mother and daughter travel from abroad to meet in Tokyo: they walk along the canals through the autumn evenings, escape the typhoon rains, share meals in small cafes and restaurants, and visit galleries to see some of the city’s most radical modern art. All the while they talk … But uncertainties abound. … At once a careful reckoning and an elegy, Cold Enough for Snow questions whether any of us speak a common language, which dimensions can contain love, and what claim we have to truly know another’s inner world.”

This is a beautiful novel that created something of an ethereal reading experience for me. Short enough to read in one sitting, and written without any chapter breaks in a stream of consciousness style, it’s a thought-provoking volume that packs an emotional punch. A slow moving exploration of emotions and memories, and identity and relationships, Au’s beautiful writing stirs up deep feelings and raises many unanswered questions.

This isn’t one of those books that you breeze through to find out what happens next but instead read slowly and carefully, word by word and sentence by sentence, as much to see what’s not being said as what is. If you’re looking for a page-turner with an engrossing plot and loose ends tidied up, this is not the book for you. But if you’re in the mood for a slower paced atmospheric study of life, family and connection that requires some patience, demands reflection and leaves things open-ended, this would be a great choice.

Au’s book was the winner of the 2020 Novel Prize, a relatively new award that “rewards novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style” and I think it is definitely a contender for the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist.
Was this review helpful?
The narrator in this novella goes to Japan with her mother - visiting museums, cafes, temples. They chat about the narrator's childhood, their astrological signs, the meaning of life. The narrator remembers a summer housesitting for a lecturer whose house was elegant, adult, full of beautiful objects. She remembers her studies of the Classics, the time spent mastering references, her first job as a waitress in a Chinese restaurant. 
The writing is lovely and I didn't mind the lack of a plot, or the long paragraphs about seemingly nothing... What I found puzzling is the overall impression of a very short and very curated vignette, where everything is dainty and beautiful and thoughtful. I couldn't help thinking of the Instagram reels encouraging you to "start romanticizing your life", or the "main character" trope.
Was this review helpful?
It's not (Au) it's me...

I requested to read this as it ticked all my boxes; a mother and daughter spend time in Tokyo together, sharing meals, visiting galleries etc and talking. It also clocked in at a very slim 94 pages so I thought this might finally be a book I'd be able to 'devour' in one sitting (or maybe two ... or three - I'm a slow reader!) 
But for some reason I just wasn't able to get into it. I think the fact that so little happened plot-wise meant that I had a hard time keeping track from one reading session to another. 
Instead I think I will take a day to myself, with no distractions or obligations and allow myself to sink into this and give it the attention it rightfully deserves.
I have given it 3 stars on the basis that this was not the right book for me at this time.
Was this review helpful?
'As we walked, I explained to my mother a little of what to expect, being careful not to give away too much detail, to leave things to be discovered.'

A mother and daughter meet up to spend time together in Tokyo, walking the streets, sitting in cafes, visiting galleries. What at first seems a simple tale develops into an enigmatic and melancholic piece, where as a reader you suspect that much more is happening behind the words. With meditations on art, motherhood and memories, this is a truly beautifully crafted short novel by a clearly talented writer. 

The kind of book that will linger with you long after you have finished, a very strong 4.5 stars.

(With thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for an ARC of this title.)
Was this review helpful?
A transient look into a mother and daughter's delicate relationship through visceral descriptions of Japan, food and art. A brief story that packs a punch; one of my favourites of this year so far.
Was this review helpful?
“Jessica Au’s “Cold Enough For Snow” challenges our assumptions about what it means to uncover our stories – and ourselves.” Peter C. Baker, The New Yorker

From the Publisher
A mother and daughter travel from abroad to meet in Tokyo: they walk along the canals through the autumn evenings, escape the typhoon rains, share meals in small cafes and restaurants, and visit galleries to see some of the city’s most radical modern art. All the while they talk … But uncertainties abound. … At once a careful reckoning and an elegy, Cold Enough for Snow questions whether any of us speak a common language, which dimensions can contain love, and what claim we have to truly know another’s inner world.”

This is a beautiful novel that created something of an ethereal reading experience for me. Short enough to read in one sitting, and written without any chapter breaks in a stream of consciousness style, it’s a thought-provoking volume that packs an emotional punch. A slow moving exploration of emotions and memories, and identity and relationships, Au’s beautiful writing stirs up deep feelings and raises many unanswered questions.

This isn’t one of those books that you breeze through to find out what happens next but instead read slowly and carefully, word by word and sentence by sentence, as much to see what’s not being said as what is. If you’re looking for a page-turner with an engrossing plot and loose ends tidied up, this is not the book for you. But if you’re in the mood for a slower paced atmospheric study of life, family and connection that requires some patience, demands reflection and leaves things open-ended, this would be a great choice.

Au’s book was the winner of the 2020 Novel Prize, a relatively new award that “rewards novels which explore and expand the possibilities of the form, and are innovative and imaginative in style” and I think it is definitely a contender for the Women’s Prize for Fiction longlist.
Was this review helpful?
Cold Enough for Snow was such an interesting look at the mother/daughter relationship, shared much in the form of a travel journal. I really enjoyed getting to explore Tokyo and other cities in Japan through the eyes of these two women, and Au wrote these little encounters that they had in cafes and shops and museums and galleries with such beauty. The nuanced way that she describes these women, their personalities, and the little habits they have, make them come to life before your eyes. There was a sense of sadness that I felt when reading this. The novella describes the relationship between mother and daughter as maybe one that has been strained over the years and certainly estranged for a period of time. We don't know why the daughter invites her mother to travel to Japan, but you get a sense that perhaps there is something that triggers it. Honestly, I think different readers will come away with different interpretations, but it was such a beautiful and rich story for it being only 104 pages, and I'm excited to see what else Au puts out into the world. *Advance copy provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review.
Was this review helpful?
Interesting and introspective look at mother-daughter, familial, and personal relationships. Very slow and winding, but in the best kind of way. Would definitely recommend.
Was this review helpful?
this was a slow wandering almost relaxing book about a girl and the relationship she has with her mother and the various landscapes she'd been surrounded with over the course of her life. it gave an insight into life in japan through the eyes of a visitor and a resident and i liked the glimpses into the her life before this trip. like i said it's slow, it's short, it's meandering - all compliments!
Was this review helpful?
Jessica Au's Cold Enough for Snow is the most contemplative novel I have read in recent memory. As some of the best short stories do, this novel analyses and muses a very specific yet relatable moment in time. 

This novel centres on a trip to Japan with an adult daughter and her mother, told from the perspective of the daughter. This story grapples with the expectation v's reality of travelling with others and travelling with family. As readers we get the idea that this trip is not going as planned and we are as confused as the daughter is about her mother and their relationship.

Overall this novel captures so many complexities of mother/daughter relationships with such beautiful writing, would definitely recommend to any daughters or readers who love to contemplate.
Was this review helpful?
A mother and a daughter visit Japan together in this short but fascinating novella.  The writing is very thoughtful and atmospheric, but the author keeps you just on the back foot, never quite giving all the details.

A rewarding read about the nature of relationships.

Thanks to the author, publisher and NetGalley for providing a review copy in exchange for honest feedback.
Was this review helpful?
Delicate novella which meanders back and forth from the present day mother and daughter holiday in Japan, to the daughter's memories and recollections. A nuanced and thought-provoking look at memory and the unknowability of another person. Reminiscent of Sebald. A pleasure to read.
Was this review helpful?
I quiet novel in the best way. Jessica Au explores memory, art, looking at art and the question of home and roots. Our main character and her mother take a trip together to Japan and this book is rich in atmosphere, you smell the smells of Japan, the food, the humidity and power of Typhoon season. This is a non-linear narrative, which at some points caused me a bit of confusion but by the end I didn't wish for it to be any other way. Best to read this in one sitting. 

Mother-daughter relationship, sense of displacement and cultural "dilution" through time and generations, the seek for knowledge and the giving it up for pure sensational experience, all explored through Au's beautiful prose. I really enjoyed for a change the perspective of a daughter looking at her mother, reflecting, looking for answers and seeing the weight of time.
Was this review helpful?
Cold Enough for Snow
by Jessica Au
A middle-aged woman and her mother visit Japan. Her Mother hales from Hong Kong.  The daughter is second-generation Chinese. The narrator has lost contact with both; her mother and the Chinese culture. 
The daughter is the one who tells the tale. The mother is, for the most part, silent. 
The narrative visits museums, art galleries and other cultural locations musing on how we can, or cannot, talk about art. 
During her travels, the narrator flashes back to her time at university, where she learned about art. She explores her relationship with art, her culture, and her family.
‘Cold enough for snow is a quiet book.  The writing is poetically beautiful.  There are well-drawn descriptions of place.  The discussions of art are thought provoking.
Was this review helpful?
An atmospheric novella that examines the relationship between a mother and daughter as they travel through Japan, The narrator is reminded of people, memories, family stories throughout the trip, a lot of the time bringing her out of the things her and her mother are experiencing on the trip. Themes that came through were motherhood and care giving, how the roles reverse as we grow older, or in situations where one has to assume the role of caretaker. I think it described really beautifully the narrators frustration with knowledge and education, and her own limits. We see this presented in her mothers contentment with not needing to examine or think about everything so deeply as her daughter does. I enjoyed the deeply reflective and ethereal nature of this book. An enjoyment to read from start to finish.
Was this review helpful?
I was impressed by the depth and storylines in this novel. An unforgettable and is a wonderfully written book that will remain with me for a long time. I loved the descriptions of Tokyo, making me long to visit Japan, as well as the relationship between mother and daughter.
Was this review helpful?