A Perfect Snow

by Nora Martin

This book explores what it means to belong in a number of ways – to family, to place, to significant others. It also shows how our allegiance – where we think we belong – changes our perspective on life. We also see what can become of those who feel excluded.

A novella, at just 144 pages, A Perfect Snow is the story of Ben, the older son of a family down on their luck and living in a trailer park on the outskirts of a small town in Montana. Ben, his father’s favourite, is feeling the injustice of his dad being out of work and that they are looked down upon for being “trailer trash”. He is troubled by the behaviour of younger brother, David, but ironically it is Ben who lets himself be manipulated into involvement in a racist hate group. But one night he recognises that he has gone too far. As Ben steps back from the group, forms a relationship with a new girl in town and develops a friendship with a rich kid he wanted to hate, David slips into the space Ben has vacated.

A Perfect Snow describes Ben’s developing consciousness and the effect his actions have on others. The writing is poetic and employs beautiful imagery of the natural world. There is probably too much happening in too short a time to be totally convinced by Ben’s conversion, but the symmetry of the story works somehow. The complexities of Ben’s family are only touched upon but are there strongly in the background.

Read a critical review of A Perfect Snow here.

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The Dream of the Thylacine

The Dream of the Thylacine.

The Dream of the Thylacine

The Dream of the Thylacine is a lament for a lost species, and a celebration of the Australian landscape. It interposes arresting text and images of the last known thylacine in a concrete cage with sweeping colour paintings of the animal in its natural environment. Intense, poetic and beautiful, this book will haunt you. …
The economic 130-word text is an extended metaphor, an ode, a lament, yet also a lyric, reinforced by intriguing and absolutely ‘right’ illustrations. The thylacine here is representative of any hunted, caged, imprisoned creature capable of dreaming – of running wild, of claiming one’s biological and cultural birthright to be free…
Maurice Saxby, Magpies

Visit the publisher’s site to see an extract from this book along with teaching notes, or find it in the library.