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The Elegant Gathering of White Snows [Paperback]

Kris Radish

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Book Description

1 Sep 2004
Eight Women on a Journey That Will Change Their Lives as Lovers, Wives, Mothers, Daughters, Friends

Just after midnight in a small town in Wisconsin, eight women begin walking together down a rural highway. Career women, housewives, mothers, divorcées, and one ex–prom queen, they are close friends who have been meeting every Thursday night for years, sharing food, wine, and their deepest secrets. But on this particular Thursday, Susan, Alice, Chris, Sandy, Gail, Mary, Joanne, and Janice decide to disappear from their own lives.

Their spontaneous pilgrimage attracts national attention and inspires other women from all across the country. As the miles fall away and the women forge ahead on their backroads odyssey—leaving small miracles in their wake—each of their histories unfolds, tales of shattered dreams and unexpected renewal, of thwarted love affairs and precious second chances.In luminous, heartwarming prose, Kris Radish deftly interweaves the women’s intimate confessions into the story of their brave, history-making walk.

A breathtaking achievement, The Elegant Gathering of White Snows tells an incomparable tale of friendship and love, loss and liberation.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 3.0 out of 5 stars  116 reviews
102 of 117 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Good Idea - BAD Writing 25 Jan 2005
By Margaret L. Lee - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Ms. Radish has a wonderful message, but her writing is so amateur that all you can't see the message for the soap box.

My book club picked this book and that's the only reason I'm still plodding through it. We picked it because of the premise of the book: women bonding, overcoming pain and loss etc., etc. But it's one of the most poorly written books I've read in a long time. Every page screams: "Where was the EDITOR of this thing??".

Want an example? Here you go: Page 5, 3rd paragraph: "As the women talk, they don't see themselves as separate entities even though they are each as different from one another as the proverbial fish is to the bicycle." HUH?????

Also, the book is over-run with unnecessary details that should have been "red penned": Page 140, 4th paragraph: "At the bottom of the bag are two bottles of wine, the same kind they had at Susan's house the day they left." Why do we need to know this?

There are hundreds of examples of what seem to be attempts at colorful language but result in a reaction of "huh?" : page 135, 5th paragraph: "The disgusting echoes of cars roaring past on the highway sounded as if a convoy was stalking the women walkers". DISGUSTING echoes????

With good editing, this book would have been half as long and maybe twice as interesting. Anyone who has ever read Alice Hoffman, Ann Tyler or Kaye Gibbons knows what I'm talking about. Their writing makes you CARE what happens to the characters.

To the reviewer who surmised that the negative reviews of this book were coming from young folks without much life experience: I'm 62 years old and have been around the block a few times, and I'm here to tell you that this book ain't the real world, baby.

I'm willing to suspend belief for a well-written book, but not for one that makes me wish I had a red pen in my hand to "cut and slash" and get to the heart of the matter.
31 of 33 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Cringing through cliches 20 Feb 2006
By J. Becht - Published on
This is not the type of book I would have chosen to read. I reluctantly bought it when my book club chose it as their next selection. Even though it looked goofy and sentimental, I cautioned myself not to "judge a book by its cover".

Reading this book is excruciating. The cliches are so embarrassing and juvenile, the premise so stupid, the characterization so predictible, and the flashbacks so maudlin, that I would give up if I had not wasted eleven dollars buying this paperback.

There must literally be a dozen cliches to the page. All women are victims. Men are abusive, sex-crazed, needy. Even the physical types of the women are cliched. The tough, hard-working Lenny has to wear cowboy boots and Southwestern silver jewelry. She has long black hair. I could have guessed it all without even reading. The world-weary journalist has to be tall and big-boned, hence ugly. Very feminist, Ms. Radish.

I can scarcely get through a paragraph without groaning in disgust. A father who shrugs off the brutal rape of his daughter, little boys who get off on spying on their mother in her underwear- these anecdotes are so distasteful, so unrealistic, and so hysterical that I am only left to ponder what bizzare issues this author must have.

I have no empathy for the underdeveloped, boozy, dull, whiny, selfish, and stupid protagonists. In fact, I may hate them. Nancy Drew was a more nuanced character.

The prose, like the theme, is insipid. Worse, the writing is so unpolished that I wonder if this author ever took a Comp 101 class. Nearly every sentence contains an awkward redundancy. I feel like I am trudging through quicksand.

I am not sure what the author's purpose is, beyond an unsubtle lecture on "feminism". Probably Ms. Radish is very earnest in her desire to portray women bonding, escaping the patriarchy, and so on, but her writing is frankly awful. I have to wonder if this book went through more than one or two drafts. I also think that a well-written book should appeal to both sexes. I am very dubious that any man could make it through this tortuous and insulting manuscript.

This book is a real embarrassment, from the pretentious title to the facile plot and characterizations. The author displays an astounding superficiality in her treatment of themes and characters. Despite all this, I think the very worst aspect of this book is the author's transparent attempts to "inspire" with her twaddle.

I have never returned a book in my life, and I must have over 10,000 titles in my house. This will be the very first book I have ever brought back to the store. Yes, it's that bad.
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Some interesting ideas, but bad writing 13 Dec 2004
By L. Montgomery - Published on
I kept notes on my bookmark as I progressed through this book so that I could remember specifically why I disliked it, and report this to my book club which had selected it. Words and phrases I jotted down included, "melodramatic...unconvincing characters and story...don't care about the characters... cliches... unoriginal ideas... similar voices [characters]all the same." If it hadn't been "assigned reading" I would have never spent the time on this book. As I read along, I did search for something redeeming. There were definitely some worthwhile ideas here and there. Too bad they were buried and lost in this book.

Although I think the author was trying to write a very "deep message" book, it came off as superficial, trite and ridiculous.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Canterbury Tales Redux But Badly 26 Jun 2006
By Theresa J. Elders - Published on
Count me as one who really wanted to love this book at onset. And why wouldn't I? Here's some women who feel they've been done wrong, and decide to just up and leave, no rhyme or reason, but just go with the flow. So what's so terribly wrong about that? And why did I finish this book solely because it was my book club's choice?

It's that the author chooses to tell these women's tales one by one as they walk through the countryside. Unlike Canterbury Tales, this pilgramage has neither destination nor actual point. The women seem to be waiting for a divine revelation of where they are going and what they are accomplishing. But if there's some underlying religious symbolism, it's tough to decipher, despite the quotes of alleged interviewed clerics wgi hint at some supernatural cause for their sojourn.

What bothered me most in this good idea gone awry was the writer's insistence in using the crassest, basest language in nearly every character's interior monologue. I've known women all over the States from every walk of life, and rarely do I find any that use such vulgarisms so consistently as this pack. It's this general inelegance, this reduction to some imagined idiom of a downtrodden but soon-to-be-liberated woman, that makes this book wholly unbelievable.

Forget that it has to be an extremely slow news day for the world's media to be engrossed in a rural trek across Wisconsin. I doubt that even the hometown weekly would bother to post reporters day by day along the route.

I had expected so much better from a professional writer like Radish.
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars So bad I had to say something 24 Feb 2004
By Karen Ghio - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is the worst book I have read in recent history. The author needs to take some classes on how to write a readable book; the characters are so poorly presented I felt like I was grading a middle school writing assignment. I would give this effort an "F". If this is supposed to be empowering to women, I am ashamed to be one. Never have I read a book that made me roll my eyes with each new page of the whining, hollow and self centered characters that I was presented with. If you want empowerment, look elsewhere!
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