Do you ever decide to read a book solely based on the cover? The cover of Laura Kasischke's newest novel Mind of Winter seemed to promise a deliciously creepy read. And it was.
On a snowy Christmas morning Holly Judge awakes.... "and knew: Something had followed them home from Russia."
Well, I was hooked. What could this something be? A spirit? A ghost? A demon? Or something of this world - bad luck, misfortune, debts?
Kasischke gives Holly free rein as the narrator of Mind of Winter. The entire book is told in a stream of consciousness from Holly. From the opening pages I thought something was 'off' with Holly. Her whirlwind mind sucks the reader into her confusion. And then her Russian adopted daughter Tatiana is introduced and my suspicions shifted. And then shifted again. Holly is able to easily explain away all of her daughter's odd behavior. And we are again left wondering what is truly happening.
Interspersed amongst Holly's thoughts are memories. Memories of Holly and Eric's trip to Russia to pick up their adopted daughter. There are clues tucked away into those memories that gave credence to my suspicions.
The blizzard that isolates Holly and Tatiana is the perfect backdrop for what may be a descent into either madness or horror. I admit to feeling slightly underwhelmed with the resolution.
Still, Mind of Winter was an atmospheric, one sitting under a solitary lamp late at night read. Read an excerpt of Mind of Winter.
Laura Kasischke teaches in the MFA program at the University of Michigan. A winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award for poetry, she has published seven collections of poetry and nine novels, two of which have been made into films, including The Life Before Her Eyes. She lives in Chelsea, Michigan, with her husband and son.
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