Recommended Reading: Snow Hunters, by Paul Yoon

snow huntersI’m so pleased to end my year of reading recommendations with this lovely, lovely work by Paul Yoon.

Snow Hunters follows Yohan, a tailor who lives in Brazil, as he adjusts to his new life, new occupation, and as he struggles with his memories of war and friendship in his native Korea. It’s a novel about place and time. Reading it, I could imagine standing in the sun on the coast of Brazil, what it would be like to feel the small triumph of learning a street’s name.

Mr. Yoon’s pose is spare but illuminating; it often reminded me of Hemingway’s writing, but with more light behind the shuttered windows. Here’s one of my favorite passages:

And he understood that he would never be able to hold all the years that had gone in their entirety. That those years would begin to loosen, break apart, slip away. That there would come a time when there was just a corner, a window, a smell, a gesture, a voice to gather and assemble. (151)

Beautiful. Writing that bears re-reading.

(Cecilia has a wonderful review of Snow Hunters on her blog, Only You.)