Mind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

Mind of WinterMind of Winter by Laura Kasischke

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It is very, very difficult to write a review of this book without giving away major spoilers, thus…
My first recommendation would be that if you are at all interested in Mind of Winter, avoid anything beyond the Goodreads or cover blurb you’ve seen about it, until after you’ve read the book yourself.
That said (and I will try to completely avoid any spoilers here) I found Mind of Winter to be atmospheric, disturbing, haunting, lyrical, and sad.
For most of the novel, I really, really had no idea what was going on. I give author Laura Kasischke and her publishers credit that in this day and age, when thrillers with twists are almost the norm, that I did not realize the plot twist until near the end of the novel.
This said, part of being so in the dark meant that, for most of the book, I was unsure where the author was going, and whether I was reading a colossal mess.
The entire novel takes place during one Christmas day, while Holly and her daughter Tatiana are snowed in to their home by an unexpected blizzard. Although we are privy to Holly’s memories, as well as phone calls she makes to the outside world, the story has a slow, bland, insulated feel, much like the rising snow that surrounds the characters.
Author Laura Kasischke, who is a university professor and award-winning poet, makes references to poetry and fairy tale images throughout the novel. Many of these seemed repetitive and slightly bombastic to me, however, this style to some extent reinforced the atmosphere of claustrophobia that I believe Kasischke was aiming for.
After finishing the novel, I feel like the poetic references are not the simply the show of intellect that I feared they might be, but neither am I convinced that the writing was brilliant.
Mind of Winter had a satisfying ending, one which for me, justified reading the novel. However, despite having many great elements, such as a strong sense of place and of unease, I didn’t love it. For me, Mind of Winter was an intriguing, but imperfectly executed, novel.

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