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Mind of Winter Hardcover – 25 Mar 2014

3.1 out of 5 stars 14 customer reviews

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Hardcover, 25 Mar 2014
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--This text refers to the Paperback edition.

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Harper (25 Mar. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062284398
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062284396
  • Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,614,107 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

It's rare and wonderful to find a book like Mind of Winter that is both a masterwork of evocative prose and a bone-chilling page-turner -Jennifer McMahon

Thought-provoking and chilling, Mind of Winter will have you looking over your shoulder as you tear through the pages to the shocking and heartbreaking conclusion - Kimberly McCreight

Few novels sustain such levels of domestic creepiness and the revelation at the end feels like a punch --Sunday Times

Shocking --Vogue

Few novels sustain such levels of domestic creepiness and the revelation at the end feels like a punch --Sunday Times

Shocking --Vogue --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author

Laura Kasischke teaches in the University of Michigan MFA program and the Residential College. She has published seven collections of poetry and seven novels. Two of her novels have been made into films, including The Life Before Her Eyes (2007) starring Uma Thurman, and her novel, The Raising, was shortlisted for the 2011 Prix Femina (France). --This text refers to the Paperback edition.


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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
The strangest thing about Mind of Winter is just how much I enjoyed it, despite the fact there's not really a lot of plot action going on. Normally this is a huge bug-bear for me - I need things to happen to keep me entertained. But I actually didn't even realise the lack of plot action until I was nearly finished, because I was completely sucked in.

Holly had a difficult childhood and adolescence, with both her mother and sister dying of breast cancer at a young age and Holly herself testing positive for a gene that almost guarantees she herself will get breast cancer, she decides that prevention is better than cure and has her ovaries removed and a full mastectomy at age 24. Apart from the motivation of avoiding cancer herself, she also wants to prevent passing the gene down, and as such she and her husband, Eric, adopt baby Tatiana (known as Tatty) from a run-down Russian orphanage.

Mind of Winter takes place over just one day - Christmas Day - during a huge snowstorm. Holly's strange premonition that something followed them home from Russia begins to take over her every moment as she notices more and more changes to her daughters behaviour. Isolated from everyone except Tatty, she picks apart every inconsistency in minute detail.

There are a couple of things that didn't work for me in Mind of Winter - there's an overuse of exclamation points that irritated me right from the beginning, and repeated descriptions of the colour of Tatiana's skin - after the first time I got it that her skin was so pale it was almost tinged with blue, I didn't need to be reminded multiple times.
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Format: Hardcover
3.5/5 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.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Very creepy, very clever. Took a few pages before I could feel comfortable with this one. The unusual setting of the daughter's origins didn't quite gel with me at first but suddenly I found I'd reached the point where I couldn't put this one down. After reading a couple of reviews saying the ending was a let down, I was expecting to be somewhat disappointed. Note to self: don't believe everything you read. The ending was truly a shock, and wrapped everything up nicely. Give it a go and stick with it, you won't be disappointed either.
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Format: Paperback
Read this in one session late into the night, unable to stop the growing sense of dread. Something is wrong, very wrong here but you cannot even begin to guess. You can tell the author is a poet by the repeated rhythms and phrases especially "something followed them home from Russia". The rambling, obsessive inner dialogue of Holly the mother is broken up by the increasingly strange behaviour of Tatty the daughter. It may be slow and repetitive but stick with it and you will be rewarded with an ending that will haunt you for a long time to come.

The last page is like a slap in the face.....
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Remember back in school, when you were studying literature - Shakespeare, or something worthy - and your teacher would draw your attention to literary devices, getting you to underline passages of text and make notes in the margin proclaiming "foreshadowing!", or "nature in sympathy!", "extended metaphor!", or some such? This book appears to have been written for the sole purpose of teaching school kids about such devices, which are here deployed so frequently and so crudely that they might as well stagger in loudly clanking their chains and ringing their bells announcing their presence. (It came as no surprise to discover the author teaches "creative writing" - though how "creative" one can only wonder.)

The premise of the story is simple. A woman, cursed by a hereditary condition that has felled her mother and sister, has had her ovaries and breasts removed prophylacticly. She and her husband travel to Siberia (yes, hauling out every cliche to stress the barrenness of the landscape's echo of her own "barrenness" - and, just to stretch the point even further, she has writer's block, so is "barren" in that respect too. Extended metaphor!) They pick out the kid they want, bribe the overstretched staff to take special care of her (foreshadowing!) and then return home to the US to wait out the regulatory three months before they can return to Siberia to collect her.

Now, 13 years later, the woman is trapped alone indoors by a blizzard (nature in sympathy!) while her husband fetches his aged parents (his mother requires medical attention for "confusion", and father for "heart problems" - foreshadowing! - delaying his return) on Christmas Day.
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