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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