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First impression: There is beauty in the words. You feel the North Korean war refugee's aloofness in his new country, Brazil. The distance he feels and his reticence is palpable. Narration by the author adds to the lines' impact. A blanket of quiet overlays the story.
People can talk without words. What is not said can speak louder than what is said. And what a person does doesn’t always reflect what they are really saying. This book captures that. It draws a world of silence and solitude that does speak and does convey a message. You watch what happens. You feel the atmosphere. There is a distance to all that happens and to the characters themselves. The manner in which this is achieved is artistically done. Beautiful rather than boring. You are drawn in. Slowly, slowly this North Korean war refugee assimilates and comes to feel at home in his new country, in an unnamed village in Brazil. S-l-o-w-l-y the past recedes, the memories blur and he melts into a new life. You read this book to feel his dislocation, the alienation of one who leaves one country for another. Leaving both horrible memories and good memories, sort of like stapling up picture upon picture until the pictures at the bottom aren’t gone but are superseded by others that are newer, stronger, more vibrant. You cannot just rip out those pictures at the bottom, can you?
Is the ending realistic? No, maybe not, but I am OK with that. You do not read this book to follow the plot line from A to Z. Neither does the story follow a chronological order. Memories come and go, and that is how you learn of the past
An atmospheric novel, to be read to understand how it is to be completely alone in a new world. You never start from scratch, since we all have our own pasts.
2 of 2 people found this review helpful
It is always fascinating to hear audiobooks read by the author. Paul Yoon writes and reads beautifully about a man named Yohan, a North Korean, whose life suddenly locates puts in a small coastal town of Brazil. In that foreign country, Yohan forms his new life, one by one. Characters in Snow Hunters rarely talk, surprisingly. Even without much conversation, however, the author had found his own style and shaped the novel into a piece of highly refined, quality art.