Today, Courtney Harler reviews Tina May Hall’s debut novel, The Snow Collectors, out tomorrow from Dzanc Books, which has been described as intoxicating, atmospheric, and eerie in various early reviews of the book. Author of The Physics of Imaginary Objects, May Hall returns with this can’t-be-missed novel.
Written in startling vignettes much like her debut collection of short stories, The Physics of Imaginary Objects (2010), Tina May Hall’s debut novel, The Snow Collectors, draws upon the depressed and desolate. Set in a snowpocalypse, Hall takes readers deep into the icy reaches of both past and future. The very first line reads, “I found the dead woman at the edge of my woods on the last day of January.” What follows is both dark (the obscurity of long-forgotten history, the opaqueness of grief and death) and light (the sun on the snow blinds us, but its whiteness conjures a glimpse of irrefutable purity). Amidst this indomitable setting, Henna, our grieving narrator, a loner in a tight-lipped community, seemingly falls into a backyard murder mystery. She soon embarks upon a strained romance with the investigating town sheriff—his family its own uncanny cast, not to mention his peculiar ancestral home. The irregular local library, too, provides enough intriguing atmosphere to keep the reader invested in Henna’s clandestine sleuthing and researching. The tone, overall, is one of uncertainty, with hints of treachery.