Snow Hunters (Paperback)
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August 2013 Indie Next List
“This slim volume, in near poetry,
paints the unlikely portrait of a poor North Korean prisoner of
war who, almost by hazard, begins a new life in a low-key port
city in Brazil rather than returning home. Taken in by a kindly
Japanese tailor, Yohan learns the trade, learns the language and
slowly becomes a member of this odd foreign family of two. A
touching portrayal of immigrant life, isolation, and the search
for human connections in a strange new world.”
— DarwinEllis, Books On The Common, Ridgefield, CT
Winner of the Young Lions Fiction Award, Snow Hunters is "a subtle, elegant, poignant read" (Oprah.com), featuring a Korean War refugee who emigrates to Brazil to become a tailor's apprentice and confronts the wreckage of his past.
"Exquisitely enigmatic...a small but radiant star in the current literary firmament" (The Dallas Morning News), Snow Hunters traces the extraordinary journey of Yohan, a twenty-five-year-old North Korean POW refugee who defects from his country at the end of the Korean War, leaving his friends and family behind to seek a new life in a port town on the coast of Brazil.
Though he is a stranger in a strange land, throughout the years in this town, four people slip in and out of Yohan's life: Kiyoshi, the Japanese tailor for whom he works, and who has his own secrets and a past he does not speak of; Peixe, the groundskeeper at the town church; and two vagrant children named Santi and Bia, a boy and a girl, who spend their days in the alleyways and the streets of the town. Yohan longs to connect with these people, but to do so he must sift through the wreckage of his traumatic past so he might let go and move on.
In Snow Hunters, "quotidian-surreal craft-master" (New York magazine) Paul Yoon proves love can dissolve loneliness; that hope can wipe away despair; and that a man who lost a country can find a new home. "The brief, simple sentences that form this elegant tone poem of a novel...have the effect of making you slow down to read them--which is a fitting way to experience the story of a man unmoored by memory and time" (Entertainment Weekly). This is a heartrending story of second chances, told with unerring elegance and absolute tenderness.