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The Snow Collectors

3.60  ·  Rating details ·  180 ratings  ·  54 reviews
Haunted by the loss of her parents and twin sister at sea, Henna cloisters herself in a Northeastern village where the snow never stops. When she discovers the body of a young woman at the edge of the forest, she’s plunged into the mystery of a centuries-old letter regarding one of the most famous stories of Arctic exploration—the Franklin expedition, which disappeared int ...more
Paperback, 224 pages
Published February 12th 2020 by Dzanc Books
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Average rating 3.60  · 
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 ·  180 ratings  ·  54 reviews

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Amalia Gkavea
''I found the dead woman at the edge of my woods on the last day of January. King month. Thirty-one spikes on a crown of icicles.''

A young woman lives in Alaska. Alone, her sole company a dog named Rembrandt. Henna tries to build her life in a wildly beautiful, inhospitable landscape and escape the shadow of a family long gone. But the winter hides its own secrets, Henna finds herself faced with a macabre discovery and a woman from the past invades her world in a haunting story that demonstr
Jan 19, 2020 rated it liked it
Henna has moved to a Northeastern Village where the snow never stops after the deaths of her parents and twin sister. She lives alone with her dog, Rembrandt, and while out walking one day discovers the body of a young woman. Then she is thrown into a century old mystery involving a letter written about a century old expedition to the Arctic which disappeared on the ice in 1845.

The age-old Gothic mystery involves Sir John Franklin's wife, Lady Jane and her quest to learn about what happened to h
Diane S ☔
Mar 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
What Z strange, yet for me an oddly compelling novel. When her twin sister and her parents disappear into the sea, Henna takes her dog, Rembrandt and moves to Alaska. The snow and the cold, seem to fit her mood, the library a source of comfort. Until a young women's body is found, and Henna finds torn sheets of paper dating back to the Franklin expedition.

In short chapters, vignettes, the story reveals one discovery after another. One never knows what is coming next, nor have a clue on where it
Feb 12, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Snow Collectors, the arresting debut by Tina May Hall, is a tremendously interesting yet very uneven book.  Hall fuses gothic horror, mystery, and historical fiction into a bizarre yet intriguing blend (made more bizarre by the fact that it's not a historical novel at all - it's set in the present-day, or maybe the near-future).  It's almost tongue-in-cheek at times in a way that weirdly reminded me of Northanger Abbey - the narrator comparing herself ironically to a gothic heroine - but the ...more
Oct 05, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: edelweissplus, 2019
Sometimes I'm hesitant to call a book "original" or "unique" because I don't have that much familiarity with its genre. That's the case for me with The Snow Collectors, but I suspect the adjectives really do apply here. I requested an electronic review copy of this book because the description suggested it would be a mystery with ties to the Franklin Polar Expedition, and I'm an eager reader of historical mysteries with a side interest in polar exploration. The Snow Collectors is that—but not in ...more
Nedra Hains
Sep 21, 2019 rated it liked it
Being a twin who has lost her other half, the descriptions of the bond between twins, even across death drew me in. It was a quick read. The plot twists and turns led my mind in the opposite direction of how I imagined it would end.
Jan 15, 2020 rated it liked it
This is a weird and refreshing little book that doesn’t follow the normal rules of this kind of fiction. It starts off in a relatively familiar space; our protagonist has a very literary name (Henna) and is doing a very literary job (writing encyclopaedia entries for a publisher on water and ice) after her parents and twin sister Claire died in a very literary way (being lost at sea). The first chapter made me think that The Snow Collectors would be full of the kind of drifty, quasi-magical pros ...more
The Snow Collectors follows Henna who lost her twin and both of her parents who mysteriously disappeared at sea. After years of searching for her parents and twin Henna and her dog Rembrandt moves to a remote town where it snows almost all year round and pretty much lives a solitary life. That is until she discovers a died body while walking through the woods.

This book was a pretty quick read for me, the main reason for this was probably the fact the chapters were so much shorter than I was expe
Ona Lou
Aug 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! It has many attributes I love in fiction: spare style with a tight narrative. It is also a bit of a mystery with a historical saga built in, the Franklin Expedition to map the Northwest Passage. I read Mostly Dead Things awhile back, and I think this book is what MDT wanted to be. The prose evokes a place but is not overwritten. I'm so impressed with this book! Hall has a beautiful style. ...more
Brittany (brittreads)
Feb 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
I have never wanted to crawl inside a book so badly before. The writing is absolutely beautiful and I’d love nothing more than to live in the wintery village Henna lives in and have the friends she has. The atmosphere is so captivating and the depth of the characters had me completely sucked in.

The historical and scientific elements were a really interesting touch that made me feel like I was learning new things while also reading a work of fiction. Yes, some of it went over my head and sometime
May 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: novel, 2020
Rembrandt is one of the best dogs in fiction. Twin Peaks meets The Franklin Expedition, told in exquisite, exact, and crystalline prose.
Feb 20, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I can’t remember the whole of the story, if it was a myth or what the book was or who did it, but I heard once somewhere that an aspiring author typed up the entirety of a great work, maybe it was The Great Gatsby, so he could know what it felt like to write a masterpiece. As soon as I started this book, I thought that if I ever put that into practice, it would be with The Snow Collectors. This book reads like art.
Apr 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was basically what you'd get if Virginia Woolf had written her take on an Agatha Christie style mystery. I kind of hated the protagonist, but the prose was so gorgeous that I was able to ignore her for the most part. Very beautiful and atmospheric, though I wish the epistolary narrative had been explored a bit deeper. ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2020-books, arc-books
4 stars
*My thanks to Dzanc Books for the copy of the Snow Collectors.

The Snow Collectors is an enthralling whimsical mystery that sweeps you through a landscape of grief and hidden histories. I truly had a blast with this book, though it did drag in places.
The magic of this book's prose stems from the breathtaking descriptions.
"Sailors, cartographers and escaped slaves all held onto her tail because she never dipped below the horizon, though she came close enough in autumn to stain the trees wit
Matthew Meade
Tina May Hall’s The Snow Collectors is like the The Bronte sisters mashed with the Wachowskis.

It’s a semi self-aware gothic romance where a mysterious man hides the truth about an even more mysterious woman from his past; a woundedly noirish protagonist is forced into the role of detective; and it all takes place in a strange alternate future with a failing eco-system, severe weather, and a reformed media landscape.

It’s Ursula Leguin meets Raymond Chandler. It’s Mr. Rochester popping up in PK
Nope. The reading was too disjointed for me.
Emma Darcy
Aug 01, 2020 rated it liked it

A... strange book. I really liked parts of it, but was really frustrated with Henna's decision making. Like, the author couldn't figure out how to make Henna do the things she does despite how obvious it was that the bad guys were who they were (it couldn't have been anyone else when the cast was so small), so she just had to hope the reader would just go with it?
Sep 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Oh, this book was wonderful. One of those books that I put down and was very puzzled why it isn’t incredibly famous. It’s a 21st-century gothic romance featuring a water witch who uncovers complex secrets through archival research! With an ancient crusty dog companion named Rembrandt! Think New England in winter. Think hive-keeping hermits. Think the grip of a hand around your neck and not being sure if what comes next is a kiss or a kill.
gwendalyn _books_
Oct 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Gwendalyn G Anderson

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This book was received from the Author, and Publisher, in exchange for an honest review. Opinions and thoughts expressed in this review are completely my own.

By Tina May Hall

A gripping novel of snowy dreamlike, A year an
Feb 22, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book! Very atmospheric, and full of mystery.

Henna lives a remote existence in an Alaskan village where it never stops snowing. Her only companion her Dog. She is still haunted by the loss of her family. One day she discovers the dead body of a young woman in the forest and decends into an ghostly investigation of how she died. I dont want to say too much here and spoil the mystery, but it was very engrossing.

I loved Henna! She was a well developed and realistic heroine. The way th
Feb 27, 2020 rated it liked it
Creepy gothic mystery set in the present but dealing with the lost Franklin Arctic exploration of the 1800s. Nail biter towards the end. Dripping with atmosphere and occurring during a hard winter near the Canadian/U.S. border; I couldn't pinpoint an exact location.

Aug 10, 2020 rated it really liked it
With beautiful imagery and lush prose, Tina May Hall takes the reader into a world where history merges with mystery. In her 2020 novel, we follow the journey of Henna, who tries to make sense of past trauma. However, we also journey into the past lives of historical figures long gone.

That is both the charm and the horror of The Snow Collectors: The past, as we learn, is not simple and is never clear. Hall is a stylish writer, who prefers slow-burns and immersion as opposed to drastic info dumps
Jeddie Marie
Jun 10, 2020 rated it it was ok
2.5/5 stars
From the moment I read the synopsis for this book I was enthralled. I’ve always been drawn to stories of mysterious disaster and the Franklin Expedition was something that I had heard of, so I decided to order The Snow Collectors on a whim having never read anything from the author or the publisher before.

To say that I was disappointed is an understatement. The writing peeved me at every turn. This is another in a long list of books that I wish had been written by a different author.
Andy Weston
Having lost her parents and sister at sea, in order to deal with her grief, Henna moves to an isolated Arctic village to write. On a walk with her dog, she discovers the body of a woman in the snowy woods, clutching the fragment of a letter in her hand, relating to the ill-fated Franklin Expedition. She becomes fascinated by the story of the Captain's wife, Lady Jane.
I don't need much persuading to read anything about Arctic exploration, especially if it concerns the Franklin Expedition, though
"One day, while snowshoeing after a winter storm, I found a body at the edge of my woods. The first thing I saw was her hand under the low-hanging branches. Her hand, covered in snow, making the sign Claire and I devised for sun--a cup, an ark, a shape to catch the light."

I'm in LOVE with Tina May Hall's prose. I just curled up into it, in the way that a cat would curl up into a warm patch of sunlight while just outside the window, it snows hard. So inventive, atmospheric, with brilliant insight
Jem Fisher
Mar 08, 2021 rated it it was ok
Henna is an extremely flat character with little to no personality and the plot twist is extremely predictable. I knew from the beginning who the killer was without having to think too hard and put the clues together. More often than not I found myself thinking "When are we gonna find out it's them" the romance in the book feels jaded and weird as if it's written by a robot. If Hall did this on purpose I don't think it was a good choice, if it wasn't then it's just bad storytelling. Despite bein ...more
Dave K.
Sep 26, 2020 rated it really liked it
Fans of dreamy prose, magical realism, and rambunctious dogs will really enjoy this book; Tina May Hall is a talented writer and this book is a thumping good read. The rural village this story takes place in feels simultaneously cozy and suffocating, and our narrator/protagonist Henna is an odd bird whose obsessions with historical research and amateur sleuthing leave her blind to other characters' motivations. She's flawed without coming off as stupid or overly naive.

Some of the magical realist
Sep 13, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Such a fun twisty fever dream of a gothic novel. I enjoyed reading this so much - trying to figure out the narrator's many strange statements, and to see how the pieces fit together. The world is like our own but also totally different, a parallel universe that seems reachable from here. The atmosphere was top-grade.

Some of that strangeness (there was a lot of talk about resurrection) never really got fleshed out (as it were), but that didn't mar the reading experience in the moment. Beautifully
May 17, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Really enjoyed this atmospheric Gothic mystery with writing that is lush and lyrical set in an northeastern village of ice and snow with a mysterious link to the 1845 disappearance of the Franklin expedition to the Arctic.

There is an oddness to the story that I loved with quirky details that at times obscure the time frame, it feels past, present, and future all at once. It was a quick enthralling read, just what I needed.
Oct 18, 2020 rated it did not like it
I was so looking forward to reading this and was so disappointed. The characters are flat and react to each other in strange, incomprehensible ways that are entirely confusing. It lacks depth and any development whatsoever. Also, there were no red herrings and so the person you think did it (but couldn't have done it because it's SO obvious they did it so it has to be a red herring) actually did it. So much of this book was completely nonsensical and underdeveloped. I do not recommend it. ...more
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Tina May Hall is the author of a collection of stories, The Physics of Imaginary Objects (which won the 2010 Drue Heinz Literature Prize) and a novel, The Snow Collectors (Dzanc Books 2020). She is the recipient of an NEA grant and has done residencies at Yaddo and Vermont Studio Center. Her stories have appeared in SmokeLong Quarterly, The Collagist, Quarterly West, Black Warrior Review, Wigleaf, ...more

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