- Paperback: 192 pages
- Publisher: ECW Press; 1st Edition edition (April 1 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1770410139
- ISBN-13: 978-1770410138
- Product Dimensions: 16.9 x 1.3 x 18.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 204 g
- Average Customer Review: 1 customer review
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,333,972 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew: A Novel Paperback – Apr 1 2011
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"A moving and funny novel...Unlike other poets-turned-novelists, Ross understands the power of both poetry and clear prose.... Ross’s writing compels." ? Winnipeg Free Press (April 2, 2011)
"A short, yet powerful journey of discovery and healing, portrayed through a series of memory based vignettes....The disjointed nature of the narration lures readers into a dream-like state, and gives the reader a more intimate, complete understanding of the characters than would be possible in a more traditional style." ?www.Suite101.com (April 1, 2011)
"Consistently minimalist and nostalgic but also variously touching, hilarious, and sad." ? Booklist (March 15, 2011)
About the Author
Stuart Ross is the author of Buying Cigarettes for the Dog ; Dead Cars in Managua ; and Hey, Crumbling Balcony! He lives in Cobourg, Ontario.
Top customer reviews
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Ross' character Ben shares out of sequence memories of his life, beginning with an assassination of a former-Nazi by Ben's own mother. Throughout the book, Ben continually questions whether this event actually happened, almost to the point of asking someone else if it did...but not quite. Considering that there is no memory of an imprisonment of his dying mother, as well as the fact that the chapter detailing this so-called memory is titled "The Dream", shows the reader that this memory is probably, in truth, just a dream; the most realistic and horrifying dream of his life, true, but still a dream. It is Ben's attempt to give meaning to his mother's all too short life. Yes, she resented and was obsessed by the existence of the Nazi while she was about to die herself, never mind that because of him, or at least people like him, much of her family had "turned to smoke over Poland".
This confusion between reality and fantasy could have been distracting if not for Ross' skilful stream of consciousness writing style. His uniquely Ontarian references instantly brought me back to my own childhood of the 1970s with a pure, clean and honest nostalgia rarely felt in novels. It is more than a coming-of-age story as Ben doesn't ever really come of age, despite becoming the last man standing in his own family. He is obsessed with his past and the ephemera of his childhood, as many of us still are...at least in our dreams, if not in our daily lives.
Ross' book beautifully captures a dream-like state of memory that haunts his character's everyday existence, and is a perfect summer read (despite the snowball in the title). As Ben "swims slowly, with steady strokes", the reader's only wish is to hear the tale of his destination and to experience, with him, what happens next.
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
There is a dynamic event mentioned in the novel that the storyteller is unsure of whether it really happened, and we are left wondering whether it really occurred in the story. This event revolves around some human behavior themes and echoes some stories occurring in the real-world news over the last 15 years.
A small number of insights are appreciated more if you were also brought up Jewish like me, you do not need to be Jewish to appreciate this funny, interesting novel. The story is probably semi-autobiographical as the author appears to be Jewish and lives in the Toronto area.