The Snow Queen

A Novel

Michael Cunningham; Read by Claire Danes

Macmillan Audio

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A darkly luminous new novel from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of The Hours

Michael Cunningham’s luminous novel begins with a vision. It’s November 2004. Barrett Meeks, having lost love yet again, is walking through Central Park when he is inspired to look up at the sky; there he sees a pale, translucent light that seems to regard him in a distinctly godlike way. Barrett doesn’t believe in visions—or in God—but he can’t deny what he’s seen.

At the same time, in the not-quite-gentrified Bushwick neighborhood of Brooklyn, Tyler, Barrett’s older brother, a struggling musician, is trying—and failing—to write a wedding song for Beth, his wife-to-be, who is seriously ill. Tyler is determined to write a song that will be not merely a sentimental ballad but an enduring expression of love.

Barrett, haunted by the light, turns unexpectedly to religion. Tyler grows increasingly convinced that only drugs can release his creative powers. Beth tries to face mortality with as much courage as she can summon.

Cunningham follows the Meeks brothers as each travels down a different path in his search for transcendence. In subtle, lucid prose, he demonstrates a profound empathy for his conflicted characters and a singular understanding of what lies at the core of the human soul.

The Snow Queen, beautiful and heartbreaking, comic and tragic, proves again that Cunningham is one of the great novelists of his generation.

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Book Excerpts

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A NIGHT
 
 
A celestial light appeared to Barrett Meeks in the sky over Central Park, four days after Barrett had been mauled, once again, by love. It was by no means his first romantic dropkick, but it was the first to have been conveyed by way of a five-line text, the fifth line of which was a crushingly corporate wish for good luck in the future, followed by three lowercase xxx’s.
During the past four days, Barrett had been doing his best to remain undiscouraged by what seemed, lately, to be a series of progressively terse and tepid breakups.

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Reviews

Praise for The Snow Queen

“Narrator Claire Danes delivers an exceptionally good performance. Her clear, thoughtful reading is suited to both Cunningham’s moments of soaring, lyrical language and to the casual, irreverent tone of the dialog among friends. A well-written novel that’s enriched by the audio performance.” – Library Journal

 

“Quintessential New York listening, whether you’re gliding across the Brooklyn Bridge at sunset or mired in midtown gridlock.” – O Magazine

Praise for The Snow Queen:

“Like By Nightfall (2010), Cunningham’s elegant and haunting new novel examines the complex dynamics among a couple and a brother. In this configuration, Barrett Meeks, a poetically minded man in his late thirties who has just been dumped by his most recent boyfriend via text message, shares a Brooklyn apartment with Tyler, his older musician-bartender brother, and Beth, Tyler’s great love. Beth and Barrett work in Liz’s vintage shop. She’s 52; her current lover, Andrew, is 28. Beth is undergoing full-throttle treatment for cancer. Tyler is struggling to write the perfect love song for their wedding, and breaking his promise not to do drugs. Barrett, long afflicted by his flitting interest in everything, remains in an altered state after seeing a strangely animated "celestial light" over dark and snowy Central Park. As his characters try to reconcile exalted dreams and crushing reality, Cunningham orchestrates intensifying inner monologues addressing such ephemeral yet essential aspects of life as shifting perspectives, tides of desire and fear, "rampancy" versus "languidness," and revelation and receptivity. Tender, funny, and sorrowful, Cunningham’s beautiful novel is as radiant and shimmering as Barrett’s mysterious light in the sky, gently illuminating the gossamer web of memories, feelings, and hopes that mysteriously connect us to each other as the planet spins its way round and round the sun.” —Donna Seaman, Booklist (starred review)

Praise for By Nightfall

“For pure, elegant, efficient beauty, Cunningham is astounding. He’s developed this captivating narrative voice . . . Half Henry James, half James Joyce, but all Cunningham, it’s an irresistible performance.” —Ron Charles, The Washington Post


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About the Author

Michael Cunningham; Read by Claire Danes

Michael Cunningham is the author of six novels, including A Home at the End of the World, Flesh and Blood, The Hours (winner of the PEN/Faulkner Award and the Pulitzer Prize), Specimen Days, and By Nightfall, as well as Land’s End: A Walk in Provincetown. He lives in New York.

Michael Cunningham
Claire Danes

© Richard Phibbs
Michael Cunningham

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Available Formats and Book Details

The Snow Queen
A Novel
Michael Cunningham; Read by Claire Danes

Unabridged Compact Disc

Unabridged  Compact Disc
Macmillan Audio
May 2014
Unabridged Compact Disc
ISBN: 9781427233387
ISBN10: 1427233381
Audio Run Time: 7:00
$29.99

Unabridged Digital Audio

Unabridged  Digital Audio
Macmillan Audio
May 2014
Unabridged Digital Audio
ISBN: 9781427233394
ISBN10: 142723339X
Audio Run Time: 7:00
$17.99

Hardcover

Hardcover
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
May 2014
Hardcover
ISBN: 9780374266325
ISBN10: 0374266328
5 1/2 x 8 1/4 inches, 272 pages
$26.00

e-Book Agency

e-Book Agency
Farrar, Straus and Giroux
May 2014
e-Book Agency
ISBN: 9780374710347
ISBN10: 0374710341
272 pages
$12.99
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