Customer Reviews for

Snow

Average Rating 3.5
( 57 )
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(21)

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(14)

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(7)

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(8)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

Magical realism bogged down by repetitive themes.

I came to regard the novel Snow by Orhan Pamuk as a work of magical realism, due largely to the titular weather that serves as a backdrop to the story. It creates a nocturnal atmosphere of mystery, fantasy and enchantment that frames the events in the novel. Kars, the T...
I came to regard the novel Snow by Orhan Pamuk as a work of magical realism, due largely to the titular weather that serves as a backdrop to the story. It creates a nocturnal atmosphere of mystery, fantasy and enchantment that frames the events in the novel. Kars, the Turkish border city that serves as the setting, is isolated by deep and perpetual snow. You can imagine the city contained in a snow globe that, when shaken¿well¿ you get the picture. The central character, Ka, comes to Kars as a journalist to cover an epidemic of suicides of young women who, upholding Islamic law, refuse to bare their heads. Many of the accolades sited in the Vintage edition of Snow refer to it as a political novel. But this is hard to swallow because the major events are not political as much as burlesque social and cultural upheavals. The novel¿s central conflict is between the modern secular government and traditional Islamic values. That orthodox Islamic women cover their heads with scarves, while contemporary secular values encourage them to bare their heads, becomes the central emblem of this conflict. The setting of the situations in this novel are clearly defined, but it¿s the characters that are hard to pin down. They glide through the story like ghosts. They lack physical definition¿except to note a woman¿s enormous breasts¿and exist almost wholly as psychological beings. This and the fact that the characters are consumed by their own romantic and spiritual passions have resulted in some critics considering this a Dostoevskian novel. And as with Dostoevsky, the author/narrator makes appearances to guide us through the story. So, is Snow a good read? The other night my wife asked me what it was about. I answered that it was about two hundred pages too long. Conversations and situations are repeated throughout the novel. The original premise of the secular v. the devout is diluted by recycled conversations about the meaning of belief, atheism, love and radical Islam, many of which take place in crowded tea houses, of which there are apparently many. I may have the disadvantage of a cultural divide, but Snow becomes, for all of its provocative early setup, an arduous read. This is not a happy novel and the greatest joy it delivers at the end is that, well, you¿ve actually finished the damn thing. Oh, and there is the happy presence of a small dog. Wasn¿t there such a dog in Brothers Karamazov? And is the payoff that people are as individual as snowflakes, as surmised by the author? Is this all the heft this novel has? This is, after all, a story within a story. The author, whose intrusions into the story line are sparse at first, goes full blown at the end and it becomes his story, not Ka¿s. Perhaps you¿ll do as I did. Be intrigued that Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize, wonder why this is so, and take on the challenge of reading Snow. And if you get through the thing, you may look back on a shadowy experience populated by ethereal characters.

posted by Anonymous on August 3, 2008

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Most Helpful Critical Review

2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

Snow fell short.

While I found the contrast of East & West most interesting, the book was a laborious read. Yes, it portrays the differences in cultures quite well, but seemed to plod on at a painfully slow pace.

posted by Anonymous on May 15, 2007

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 3, 2008

    Magical realism bogged down by repetitive themes.

    I came to regard the novel Snow by Orhan Pamuk as a work of magical realism, due largely to the titular weather that serves as a backdrop to the story. It creates a nocturnal atmosphere of mystery, fantasy and enchantment that frames the events in the novel. Kars, the Turkish border city that serves as the setting, is isolated by deep and perpetual snow. You can imagine the city contained in a snow globe that, when shaken¿well¿ you get the picture. The central character, Ka, comes to Kars as a journalist to cover an epidemic of suicides of young women who, upholding Islamic law, refuse to bare their heads. Many of the accolades sited in the Vintage edition of Snow refer to it as a political novel. But this is hard to swallow because the major events are not political as much as burlesque social and cultural upheavals. The novel¿s central conflict is between the modern secular government and traditional Islamic values. That orthodox Islamic women cover their heads with scarves, while contemporary secular values encourage them to bare their heads, becomes the central emblem of this conflict. The setting of the situations in this novel are clearly defined, but it¿s the characters that are hard to pin down. They glide through the story like ghosts. They lack physical definition¿except to note a woman¿s enormous breasts¿and exist almost wholly as psychological beings. This and the fact that the characters are consumed by their own romantic and spiritual passions have resulted in some critics considering this a Dostoevskian novel. And as with Dostoevsky, the author/narrator makes appearances to guide us through the story. So, is Snow a good read? The other night my wife asked me what it was about. I answered that it was about two hundred pages too long. Conversations and situations are repeated throughout the novel. The original premise of the secular v. the devout is diluted by recycled conversations about the meaning of belief, atheism, love and radical Islam, many of which take place in crowded tea houses, of which there are apparently many. I may have the disadvantage of a cultural divide, but Snow becomes, for all of its provocative early setup, an arduous read. This is not a happy novel and the greatest joy it delivers at the end is that, well, you¿ve actually finished the damn thing. Oh, and there is the happy presence of a small dog. Wasn¿t there such a dog in Brothers Karamazov? And is the payoff that people are as individual as snowflakes, as surmised by the author? Is this all the heft this novel has? This is, after all, a story within a story. The author, whose intrusions into the story line are sparse at first, goes full blown at the end and it becomes his story, not Ka¿s. Perhaps you¿ll do as I did. Be intrigued that Orhan Pamuk won the Nobel Prize, wonder why this is so, and take on the challenge of reading Snow. And if you get through the thing, you may look back on a shadowy experience populated by ethereal characters.

    3 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted April 9, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    dull dull dull

    Drab. Boring. Flat. Snow was one of the most uninteresting books I've ever read. I couldn't relate to any of the characters or situations. The plot, though it sounds interesting, was very dull and frankly it just couldn't keep my attention. Blah!

    2 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 15, 2007

    Snow fell short.

    While I found the contrast of East & West most interesting, the book was a laborious read. Yes, it portrays the differences in cultures quite well, but seemed to plod on at a painfully slow pace.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 19, 2005

    Intense

    I recently finished up 'Snow' by Turkish author Orhan Pamuk and thought it was exceptional. The first half of the book has a great deal of detail as he's introducing all of the characters--and all of the conflicting ideologies swirling in the town of Kars--and though it slowed my reading speed, it was very thought-provoking and informative. I also saw several parallels with our current situation here in the US. The pace picks up in the second half of the book, though it is equally intense from a psychological and philosophical point of view. Ka the poet (the main character) is a multi-faceted, well-developed character who will live on in my thoughts and imagination for years to come. The issues the book addresses are numerous, and yet they need to be numerous since one of the main points of the book seems to be that such myriad issues DO impact on our lives to varying degrees, even when we try our hardest to ignore them. Try as we might, there is no escape from the role of religion in society, the degree of free speech the government allows, the accommodation of neighbors with differing opinions, fate versus free will, personal happiness versus social responsibility, the worth of the arts and artists, the importance of romantic love...and even our utter inability to control the weather. This is definitely one of the BEST books I have read in a long time. (And thank you, Mr. Pamuk, for constanly referring to 'those Armenians' and 'that Armenian thing' and trying to bring the tragedy to light without getting yourself thrown in jail by your government which still won't admit to it's act of genocide.)

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 3, 2005

    a gem

    this book is not for everyone. the plot does not move quickly and linearly; like all of Pamuk's work it takes it's time and travels in circles, each cirle getting closer and closer to the mark, unfolding new joys as it goes. you must appreciate this style of writing and seeing the world to appreciate this book and his others - if you're looking for fast paced action and simple plot, you will probably be frustrated, as the first reviewer was. this book is to be relished and enjoyed; and there is nothing wrong or lost in the translation. each book this author has written builds on the last, and you wonder if he's constructing a kind of massive snowflake poem of his own, over decades of novels...

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted June 16, 2010

    Different

    I bought this book due to the favorable review given its author, Orhan Pamuk, by Paul Theroux in his own book, Ghost Train to the Eastern Star. It is an interesting read if for no other reason that it exposes the reader to the works of a non-traditional author. This was my first reading of Turkish literature of any kind, and while I found the story awkward and "different," it was a worthwhile read to get a different spin on writing styles, themes and stories. My one take-away, however, was not so nice - that men in particular in many non-Western countries are VERY childish and immature, even when they are well past their 20s.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 27, 2009

    WHAT IS THE MESSAGE?

    The author is on target with today's world. The world is darkening. There is no free will. The people are consumed with one another. It is best to know the enemy and how they think so if you want to be prepared for end times I suggest you read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 21, 2006

    Frustrating

    The narrator of Snow is an awkward mix of limited omnipotent and first-person. A personal friend of the main character, Ka, the narrator ricochets between his own thoughts and Ka's, claiming to be able to get into Ka's head by virtue of the notes he left behind from his trip to Kars. Reading the asides and editorial inserts from the narrator is like listening to a ninety-year old woman tell a story. The book cannot decide where its allegiances lie: is it political, intellectual, literary, or spiritual? Pamuk unsuccessfully tries to combine all four of these elements, resulting in a lengthy drawn-out tale by the end of which the reader cares more about the charcoal-colored dog who occasionally makes an appearance than he does about the characters proper.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 14, 2004

    I challenge you to stay awake

    Reviewers of Orhan Pamuk seem to fall into two categories: those who find his work breathtakingly brilliant; and those who find it distant, overly-intellectualized, and downright dull. As much as I'd like to belong in the first category, there's no denying I'm smack-dab in the second. This, despite the fact that I consider myself a patient reader and have long been fascinated by Pamuk's native Turkey. The book's central character is a poet named Ka. Its setting is the Turkish frontier town of Kars. What falls throughout the book is snow, which, translated in Turkish, is 'kar.' Ka, Kar, Kars. Hmm. Let this be your first warning that you are deep in the throes of post-modernist art. The plot of 'Snow' is drawn straight from the headlines of Turkey today. Religious young women, pressured by the State to take off their headscarves, are committing suicide. While Pamuk has plenty of value to say about this and other issues challenging this nation on the crossroads of East and West, the problem is how he goes about saying it: ''Does your father have to be out of the hotel for you to get into bed with me naked?' asked Ka. 'Yes. And he hardly ever leaves the hotel. He doesn't care for the icy streets of Kars.' 'All right then, let's not make love now. But let's kiss some more,' said Ka. 'OK.' Ipek leaned over Ka, who was sitting on the edge of the bed, and they enjoyed a long and sensual kiss.' Ooooooo-kay. Maybe it's not fair to blame Pamuk since his prose must first be dragged through the filter of translation. Is it really possible to create elegant English from Turkish -- a language rich in suffixes but poor in vocabulary, with paragraph-length sentences that run, from the western perspective, precisely in the wrong direction? Perhaps not. But so what? 'Snow' is boring. It's boring in the same way that 'The White Castle' was boring, and in the same way that 'The New Life' was boring (and incomprehensible). And there's no excuse for boring. Great novels inform -- but great novels also entertain. This is not a great novel. Once again, Pamuk gives the reader a blizzard of ideas, accumulating to remarkable depth. But reader beware -- this just makes for a long, cold slog.

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2004

    somehow difficult to follow but overall breathtaking

    Well, Snow by Orhan Pamuk. What a big promise for us. I have been eagerly waiting to read his next book just after My name is Red. His excellent style has been getting further more than one step in each book. This is not a historical story, just pure reality! His trademark 'the conflict about the difference between east and west' now shines in another city; Kars, situating on the far north-east of Turkey. His search for identity and reality leads to curiosity. This is about what it means to be western/eastern. The main character Ka, a middle-aged poet actually, returns to Istanbul to attend his mother's funeral and learns the strange events in eastern Turkey: Suicides is getting popular among girls forbidden to wear their head scarves at school and that makes him travel to Kars, a small city near the Russian border. The author describes Kars in a poetic way, after Ottoman and Russian glories, the city was totally abandoned by West. He finds Kars in poverty surrounding by political Islamists, Kurdish separatists idealist students, left-wing theater groups and of course their ideologies. Orhan Pamuk has a remarkable reputation all around the world. This book seems somehow so Turkish. You may find difficult to read and follow particulary some of the events, however the unique style of Pamuk makes the story awesome. One more tip for the non Turkish readers; there is a word game in this book. Ka (The name of main character), Kar (it means 'Snow' in Turkish) and Kars (the name of the city). Breathtakingly intelligent.

    1 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 11, 2014

    Team Selcric

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 17, 2014

    Snow

    SNOW!!! TODAY SCHOOL IS CANCELLED!!! We got dumped with a whole bunch of snow and it's melting while its snowing because we are sopose to get snow on Wed. Or thurs. But on both of those days it is going to be in the 40s and we are sopose to get snow!!!! Righ now its a big slushy mess outside!!! MOTHER NATURE WHAT'S WRONG WITH U!!! U GIVE US SNOW AND THEN U MAKE IT MELT!!! But the good sign is that there is about 28 more days untul spring though. But we are still going to have SNOW!!!!!! ATLEAST we probably won't get snow on May 2nd unlike last year. THAT WAS HORRIBLE!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 19, 2013

    Icepelt

    Someone pass out in camp hurry!!! *Runs out*

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 23, 2013

    Twilight

    He poppe out of her nest* "i just kidding!" She churred and fluffe her feathers

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 20, 2013

    Angelfeather

    I do! I was just busy!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2013

    A brilliant work of art--the falling snow caresses the character

    A brilliant work of art--the falling snow caresses the characters, often blinding them as well. The last line of the novel soars, lending grace and humility to this work.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 2, 2013

    Ivy and Turtle

    Ivy looks around and smiles as she scents all the things around her.<br>
    Turtle pads alongside Ivy.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Fearlesskit

    The amber shekit pads in and looks around

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 28, 2013

    Snowclaw

    I think tjey are in the next result

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 23, 2013

    Two of midnight's kits

    Twillight, who looks like graystripe, is starving and nudges his brother, scooter. He looked like firestar. Scooter was dead and twillight was burieing him.

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