Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Mind of Winter” as Want to Read:
A Mind of Winter
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Mind of Winter

3.06  ·  Rating Details ·  47 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
"Three people whose lives touched during WWII take turns narrating this haunting psychological thriller from Nayman."--Publishers Weekly

"In the years following WWII, the horrors of that war reverberate in the lives of the intertwined characters in Nayman’s second novel, a story of guilt, mistaken identity, and love . . . Nayman's saga delves deeply into how even those not
Paperback, 332 pages
Published May 1st 2012 by Akashic Books
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Mind of Winter, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Mind of Winter

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Peter Boysen
Sep 30, 2012 Peter Boysen rated it it was amazing
Judging from the news, we are just beginning to reap the harvest of psychiatric disorders that will haunt our military servicemen as they return from years of war without much in the way of leave. The experience of being constantly on tour, or about to leave for another tour, has stresses of its own -- let alone the ethical disconnect that makes murder and violence not only legal but a requirement.

Because of the brevity of our national attention span, though, these problems have not spread to th
This book got off to a very promising start for me. Nayman's initial narrator (Oscar) said something that gave me an instant feeling of connection. But, after only a few pages with this narrator, and just as things are starting to get interesting, we are abruptly thrust into a new time and place, and given a narrator (Christine) with whom I not only felt no connection, but couldn't even bring myself to be really interested in at all. I was so turned off by this section of the book, that I had a ...more
Aug 07, 2012 Diana rated it liked it
"A Mind of Winter is a page-turning, literary psychological thriller that unfolds over three continents." Well, the story does unfold over three continents, however as for being a page turner or psychological thriller, I did not get that from this book.

Overall, I thought the book was well written and I did enjoy the characters, yet for me, this book did not grab my attention. It was easy to put down and hard to start back up. Don't get me wrong, while I was reading it I enjoyed it, but it was n
Aug 13, 2012 A. rated it liked it
Review based on ARC.

I was initially intrigued by this book because its title and brief description made me think of reading a cozy psychological thriller. Fortunately, Nayman moves the reader seamlessly into an intriguing story. I say fortunately because there are portions of the book that don't move the reader along as effortlessly as others, but the initial intrigue of Oscar's situation drives the reader through those less exciting portions.

You can read the basic description of the book in oth
Nov 05, 2015 Doreen rated it liked it
It is 1951. Oscar, a mysterious millionaire (whose one true love, Christine, inexplicably abandoned him during the London Blitz), holds court at Ellis Park, his estate on Long Island, where one of his semi-permanent guests is Marilyn, a war photographer. The novel is narrated from the point of view of each of these three characters.

Christine's story is narrated from Shanghai where her life took many an unfortunate turn after she left Oscar. Marilyn, working on a book of war photographs while at
Nicola Mansfield
Apr 08, 2016 Nicola Mansfield rated it really liked it
I liked this book. I really didn't know what I was getting into when I started as the publisher's description of a "literary psychological thriller" gave me visions of something this is completely not. I was very smitten, though. The book is indeed literary and psychological but there is no thriller. There is a secret which is easily put together by the reader if not during, then certainly by the end of part one. I'd say the main theme here is misconceptions. Coming to your own conclusions about ...more
Jul 10, 2012 Pat rated it liked it
A Mind of Winter is primarily about three main characters, Christine, Marilyn, and Oscar, and their lives in the years after World War II. Over 60 million people died in the war, and death plays an important role in the story. Oscar is haunted by the likely deaths of his family members at the hands of Nazis. Marilyn is haunted by the photo she has taken of a boy in London who has lost his entire family. Christine spends the first part of the book slowly killing herself, unsuccessfully, with ...more
Amanda L
Dec 01, 2012 Amanda L rated it really liked it
Set in post-WWII Long Island, Shanghai and London, Nayman tells a deeply personal story that, as acutely harrowing as many aspects of it are, seems authentic and well-researched. Nayman has a great ability to decompose human experience and emotion in ways that are entirely foreign to me and yet somehow relatable. The plot is gripping of its own accord but the many-faceted characters and the intense inner-life struggle of each is what sets her work apart from others.

The story is told though the
May 18, 2013 JP rated it liked it
In the wake of World War II, three characters struggle to figure out what about their relationships is real. One is a photographer, whose iconic photo of bombed out London captured the essence of that reality. Since then, she struggles to find the same understanding of the people around her, including her husband, her lover, and her host, one of the other characters. He has changed identities in an attempt to evade his wrongs while he seeks to find his roots. The third, his lost love, redeems ...more
Jun 17, 2012 Lorraine rated it really liked it
Recommended to Lorraine by: LibraryThing ER
I won this book through LibraryThing Early Reviewers.

It's different, well-written, mysterious, full of heavy atmosphere. There's a line near the end that Oscar asks: "What crime is there in self-preservation?" that encapsulates the novel's exploration. Three characters, Oscar, Marilyn, and Christine (plus Barnaby in everyone's background), are searching for their own way to deal with the circumstances they have been given. Drugs, sex, the blackmarket, are some of the options they explore in Lond
Mar 08, 2016 Dee rated it did not like it
What do you do when you discover evidence that suggests your lover is a former Nazi? Do you ask him about it? No! You run off to Shanghai and become an opium addict.
Meanwhile, your baffled boyfriend relocates to an estate on the north shore of Long Island and collects self-absorbed artists-types as “friends” while you stagger from den to den selling yourself to anyone who will supply you. Why you even stoop so low as to procure young girls for a brothel. Yet you have standards! You won’t no mat
Aug 04, 2012 Lisa rated it liked it
Oscar, Christine, Marilyn and Barnaby -- four people thrown together by the interweaving of post-war upheaval and their own restless natures. Mistaken identity, the impact of the past, restless desire influence their destiny. Christine's story was the most gripping, especially her time in Shanghai. Oscar reads a bit like Gatsby with his wealth and detachment.

The book starts strong but at times it bogged down in the middle. I found myself skimming. I'm glad I read it and I would recommend it. It
Feb 08, 2014 JoLynn rated it really liked it
Beautifully written, an intense psychological mystery/journey. Covering the period of World War II and the decade after, the story moves back and forth in time, across continents, narrated in turn by three of the main characters. At least two of the characters appear to be running as fast as they can from their past lives. The mystery to be solved is who, what and how they will escape.

The novel deals with hard to take subjects, but if the reader can persevere, the story is ultimately one of rede
Judy Schachter
Jun 04, 2013 Judy Schachter rated it really liked it
A Holocaust story in which a German Jew, raised as a Roman Catholic but born to a Jewish woman, reflects on his escape from Germany to London. His successful life there involves constant recreating of himself that includes the irony of being sought as a Nazi official through mistaken identity. His friends in NY, London and Shanghai never know who he really is. Of particular interest is the complex tale of his
Shanghai element, which includes disturbing stories of mid-century
American ex-pat opium
Jul 15, 2012 Allison rated it really liked it
Shira Nayman seduces you into the lives and minds of her three main characters in the aftermath of World War II. She takes on so many subjects and themes: betrayal, love, identity, escapism, and weaves them together in way that keeps you guessing at the shape of the puzzle the whole time. I was afraid that some questions wouldn't be answered, but she ties up all of the loose ends beautifully. I found the voices of her female characters especially refreshing and honest. It is both decadent and ...more
Oct 18, 2012 Susan rated it liked it
Pretty engaging narrative, but the plot became rather diffuse in the sense of the author trying to do too many things at once ... period feel, atmosphere of postwar China, postwar German war crimes, issues of identity, questions of morality, love story, love triangle, aesthetics of photography, etc. The prose was well-written but sometimes too abstract, too visual, like a painter trying to write ...
Jul 27, 2012 Michelle rated it it was ok
I struggled to enjoy this book that was provided to me by Goodreads. I am not sure I could even provide a summary of what this book is about other than two woman who both come into contact with the same men. I felt like I was moving down a road that twisted and turned but never got to where it was going. Yet there always seemed potential to the story with the characters and their interaction but I didn't find it. Maybe other readers might...
Mar 07, 2013 Tuck rated it really liked it
interesting novel of wwii and its aftermath. fairly complicated plot but has to do with mistaken identities, love lost, addictions, vast wealth, black markets, infidelity. stretches from germany to london to long island to shanghai and back again. not your typical akashic, but now that seems there may not be a typical title from them and becoming much more mature and wide ranging imprint. super book of wwii intrigues, horrors, confusions, and loves.
A Mind of Winter was a very interesting read, but it really took until the ending to figure out how the three characters related to each other. Each character's section could almost be read as a standalone, and would have made for interesting linked novellas. Overall, it is rather evocative of other literary works yet still unique in its own right.
Dec 25, 2012 Brian rated it liked it
Reasonably well-written book about characters about whom I could find no compelling reason to care. The main characters are woven together in a strangely bland plot despite the exciting, harrowing turmoil of the times. Nayman can write. I hope she finds something better about which to write.
I was lost and confused reading this novel. I thought the storyline would be really interesting because this material is my favorite reading---but I was disappointed. it seemed very disjointed as if someone had been smoking too much opium.
Sep 24, 2012 Leigh rated it really liked it
I liked this one. Very poetic language in parts and themes about identity and how it changes our relationships with others.
Lesley rated it it was ok
Aug 03, 2013
Oct 22, 2012 Debbie rated it did not like it
Awful!!!!!!! She can write but the topic is dark and depressing and basically makes no sense.
Jennifer Paul
Jennifer Paul rated it liked it
Aug 30, 2014
Lucy rated it liked it
Feb 15, 2013
Sara rated it it was ok
Aug 02, 2014
Nakia Woodward
Nakia Woodward rated it liked it
Oct 28, 2012
Lynda rated it really liked it
Aug 31, 2012
Courtney rated it did not like it
Dec 05, 2013
« previous 1 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Share This Book