For fans of John McGahern, Niall Williams and Alistair McLeod, a haunting story of love, death and murder in a land choked by snow.
David Park has published seven books, most recently the critically acclaimed The Truth Commissioner. He was the winner of the Authors' Club First Novel Award, the Bass Ireland Arts Award for Literature and a twice winner of the University of Ulster's McCrea Literary Award. He lives in County Down, Northern Ireland with his wife and two children.
The central conceit of this acclaimed Irish author's poignant and compelling American debut is a snowstorm that shuts down Northern Ireland. A series of interlocking short stories about various smalltown characters precedes a taut, riveting urban murder-mystery involving a prostitute and a city councilman. The book starts on a wistful note as schoolteacher Martin Stevenson prepares for the death of his wife from a terminal illness that is wicking away her beauty and energy. From there, Park moves to a precocious young man's attraction to an older woman when the storm forces him and his father to help her husband after a minor auto accident. Other short interludes include a woman's efforts to buy a wedding dress for her daughter, and an encounter involving a prudish principal who winds up sleeping with one of his teachers. Park saves the best for last, when the mysterious death of a prostitute sparks a young detective named Swift to defy his boss and pursue a prominent councilman in the title novella. Park is a superb writer who focuses on interiority in the early stories, briefly but sharply bringing his characters to life with compassion and verve as they grapple with their passions and shortcomings. The impeccable plotting in the murder mystery is just as noteworthy, as Park focuses on Swift's head butting with his boss to increase the tension for the final pursuit. Structurally, the story line poses challenges, but the author incorporates a stunning beauty and a sense of mystery into his prose that makes it smooth and seamless. (June) Forecast: The unconventional structure of this work makes it a tough sell, but the snowstorm conceit (and the lovely jacket image of a snowstorm) lend it a quiet charm. Park's story he is an Ulster schoolteacher who gave up writing for 10 years in discouragement and then decided to try his hand at it once more is as low-key and appealing as the book itself. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
'Luminously written ... intense and extraordinarily compelling' The Times 'Park is a writer of startling grace and integrity ... darkness seeps in to meet the relentless snow in this new world of black and white' Daily Telegraph 'Painted in prose so lyrical that you want to bathe in it ... A book to savour' Daily Mail 'Bewitching ... If you liked Ian McEwan's Atonement, you will adore this' Daily Mail