Brenda's Reviews > A Spell of Winter

A Spell of Winter by Helen Dunmore
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Dec 05, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in December, 2008

“It is winter, my season…. My winter excitement quickened each year with the approach of darkness. I wanted the thermometer to drop lower and lower until not even a trace of mercury showed against the figures. I wanted us to wake to a kingdom of ice where our breath would turn to icicles as it left our lips, and we would walk through tunnels of snow to the outhouses and find birds fallen dead from the air. I willed the snow to lie for ever, and I turned over and buried my head under the pillow so as not to hear the chuckle and drip of thaw….”

Dunmore is a lovely lyrical writer and the book is strangely affecting. It’s about a young woman, her brother, and a strange life with absent parents and the odd characters who are there in their place.

Reading this book made me feel the way I felt when I watched The Piano or Angels and Insects, or read Donna Tartt’s The Secret History. If you’ve read or watched those stories, you might know what I mean. They are stories in which things are so odd and sort of awful, but you get pulled in and start to feel the weight of the events surrounding the most normal of things, like the eating of a piece of cheese.
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