Cold Enough for Snow
A young woman has arranged a holiday with her mother in Japan. They travel by train, visit galleries and churches chosen for their art and architecture, eat together in small cafés and restaurants and walk along the canals at night, on guard against the autumn rain and the prospect of snow. All the while, they talk, or seem to talk: about the weather, horoscopes, clothes and objects; about the mother’s family in Hong Kong, and the daughter’s own formative experiences. But uncertainties abound. How much is spoken between them, how much is thought but unspoken? Cold Enough for Snow is a reckoning and an elegy: with extraordinary skill, Au creates an enveloping atmosphere that expresses both the tenderness between mother and daughter, and the distance between them.
NOMINATING LIBRARY COMMENTS
Cold Enough for Snow is something like an ephemeral waterfall. The story, of a woman and her mother travelling in Japan, unfolds with grace – not a thundering cascade but a slow trickling that still has the power to, in time, soften the rock below into shape.
The prose is elegant and unpretentious, making inferences but not enforcing meaning. The story speaks to the complexity of our relationships with those we love, and also nods towards some of the richness and value of travel and being present outside of our regular environments.
The novel pushes and pokes at notions of identity, belonging and perception; invoking colour and description to honour the importance of observation, care and attention. It is a work of great softness and strength.
– The National Library of Australia