“Cold Enough for Snow”: a meditation on the intricacies of mother-daughter relationships

Little Matter actually occurs in “Cold Enough for Snow”, in which a mother and her adult daughter vacation in Japan during typhoon season. Through the girl’s narration, we follow the couple to museums, bookstores, restaurants and souvenir shops. Their largely one-sided conversations are interspersed with the narrator’s recollections of various people in her life: her uncle in Hong Kong; his partner, Laurie; his sister; a university professor.

In the hands of a less talented writer, this subdued plot could have been mind-numbing. Luckily, that’s not the case for Australian writer Jessica Au. Her second novel, “Cold Enough for Snow,” is a slender volume, but that restraint makes a great argument for tighter novels rather than bloated bestsellers.

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