Select one of the keywords
The Snow Garden    by Christopher Rice order for
Snow Garden
by Christopher Rice
Order:  USA  Can
Miramax, 2003 (2002)
Hardcover, Paperback, Audio

Read an Excerpt

* * *   Reviewed by Angela Landreth

Kathryn Parker, Randall Stone, Jesse Lowry, and Eric Eberman - the four main characters in The Snow Garden - all aim to escape the complications of their past and build a new future. Kathryn, Randall, and Jesse have moved away from their families to the fictional Atherton University in order to start this new chapter in their lives with a clean slate. Professor Eric Eberman hopes to free himself from past events and desires that must remain hidden.

Having left her family in San Francisco, Kathryn is somewhat of a loner, but seems to have control over her studies. We wonder why she would rather go to a strange city with a new friend than go home for Thanksgiving. Her happiness and social activities seem to rely upon what Randall Stone ('her best friend at Atherton - maybe her only friend here or at home') desires to do. Why is such a young, beautiful girl, dependent upon her gay boyfriend?

Jesse Lowry resides in the same dorm as Kathryn, and is Randall's roommate. Jesse seems to derive pleasure in making sure that all know of his sexual promiscuity. Kathryn shows deep contempt for him and his sexual activities, and Jesse thrives from letting her know when he has a new conquest. Jesse describes the other students as 'working their asses off to be anything other than what they are', a peculiar statement from someone determined that the entire student body know what he is doing.

Randall, aptly described as 'the gay Prada fashion plate', is from New York. Randall gives the impression that his family is wealthy, but has a hands off approach towards him. This seems to be credible since nobody has witnessed him talking to them since his arrival at Atherton. Randall is open about his homosexuality, but keeps his past and his current lover, Professor Eberman, private.

Eric Eberman is an Art History Professor at Atherton. The potential personal and professional ramifications of his affair with Randall demand that their relationship be kept secret. When Eric's wife has a fatal, yet suspicious car accident, it may become necessary to expose his affair with Randall in order to provide him with an alibi. The death of Professor Eberman's wife also resurrects the story of Pamela Milford, a student who mysteriously died at the Atherton almost twenty years before.

Methodically exposing the layers of these characters, Rice reveals the influence of each of their pasts on present events. All of the relationships, with their particular dynamics, are vital to the resolution of this novel. The Snow Garden is compelling from first contact, its reader a fly caught in a spider's web. With this as only his second novel, it appears that Christopher Rice has a promising future as a writer.

Note: Opinions expressed in reviews and articles on this site are those of the author(s) and not necessarily those of BookLoons.

Find more Mystery books on our Shelves or in our book Reviews