Review: Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica Au

Cold Enough for Snow by Jessica AU (New Directions 2022)

Reviewed by Hannah Wyatt

I recently read Jessica Au’s Cold Enough for Snow—a meditation-style novella that blurs the line between interior monologue and impressionism. As the narrator travels through Tokyo with her mother, she contemplates her love for art and Greek drama, the reality of her memories, and the distance between parent and child. Separation is explored in the resentment and shame the narrator feels towards her own cultural duality, as well as the ways in which she imagines her mother’s own cultural experience following her move away from Hong Kong. Themes of place, art, and literature are explored, and so is the concept of taking up space (and a lack thereof). By the end of the story, I was left with a great sense of dreaminess and wonder, questions about the transferral of parental identity, and a fondness for Au’s storytelling.

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Special Feature: A Snail Found Poem

That Life Continues

Humbled by where we are in the scheme of things 

Human time as opposed to some other kind of time

We are all hostages to time

I listened carefully

Thinking about speed and slowness, 

time can feel quick and expansive

I spent a lot of time noticing

tiny, beautifully made arrows of calcium carbonate, 

I could hear it eating.

The velocity of the ill, however, is like the velocity of the snail 

I am going to withdraw from the world

We so often treat things as other

In a box in a box


This poem was created using quotes from the book and notes from our Drizzle Summer Book Club discussion on The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey. It was written collaboratively by Patricia Steckler, Claudine Mininni, Sarena Brown, and Rebecca Valley. You can find the writer bios here. To learn more about the book that inspired the poem, check out our micro review.

Special Feature: A Cemetery Boys Found Poem

Healing

How long after he was gone would Yadriel be dreaming

The fullness of the family

they didn’t just take all pain

let people feel grief 

it was important 

to honor all those who make this community strong

“¡Mi querido!”

mourn 

loss of a loved one

Why

Growth isn’t a deviation 

growth is more 

a sphere instead of a line


This poem was created using quotes from the book and notes from our Drizzle Summer Book Club discussion on The Cemetery Boys by Aiden Thomas. It was written collaboratively by Ingrid Carabulea, Rey Katz, Tracy Vasquez, Sarena Brown, and Rebecca Valley. You can find the writer bios here. To learn more about the book that inspired the poem, check out our micro review.