Haiku and Snow

“Yuko Akita had two passions.
And snow.

A haiku is a Japanese poem. It has three lines. And only seventeen
syllables. No more, no less.

Snow is a poem. A poem that falls from the clouds in delicate
white flakes.”

This is the beginning of Snow, by Maxence Fermine, a lovely little novel about life, love, and poetry. The story is almost a parable, and almost a poem itself–100 pages of sparse, precisely chosen words.

When Yuko came of age, his father, a Shinto monk, gave him only two choices: become a monk or a warrior. Yuko wanted to become a poet, and particularly wanted to write about snow. The story that follows is his journey toward his art, toward love, and toward ultimately being able to incorporate color into his poetry. It’s an interesting idea and format for a novel.

Along with Snow, French writer Maxence Fermine, wrote two other books which became his “trilogy of colours.” I’m trying to find a copy of The Black Violin, and then The Beekeeper, and hope that they are as unusual and as nicely done as this little novel.

Evidently, there was a film made of Snow, but all I found on it was a web site with some of the music written for it. You can listen to it here.

7 thoughts on “Haiku and Snow

  1. Nymeth

    I really like the sound of this novel. Lately you’ve been posting about so many interesting sounding books I’d never heard about before! My wishlist has been growing considerably. Thank you for all the great posts!


  2. jenclair

    I have a thing about snow and will read almost any book with “snow” in the title, so this one, especially with the haiku connection, sounds fascinating. I’ve never read anything by Fermine, but the other two books you mention also sound interesting. A new author to pursue!


  3. tanabata

    It’s a lovely little book, isn’t it? Maybe I should pick it up and read it again. I have a thing for snow in titles too and that’s what made me pick it up when I saw it lying on a table in a bookstore a few years ago.
    I’ve also read The Black Violin, and it’s just as lovely. I have The Beekeeper but haven’t read it yet for some silly reason. Thanks for reminding me of these.


  4. Robin

    Thanks, Nymeth. I feel the same way about your reviews. As a matter of fact, I picked up Dream Angus at the library, and am going to start it next. It was your review that lead me to it, thank you!

    JenClair, it’s really a lovely little book. I’d never heard of this author before, but he seems to be quite well known and respected in Europe.

    Tanabata, yes, it is a lovely book. I’m so glad to hear that you liked The Black Violin, and that it’s as good as Snow. I’m definitely going to search for that one, and The Beekeeper, and read them. I’ll find Silk at the same time because I haven’t read it, and it does sound good. Thanks!

    Heather, it’s a book that can be read easily in one sitting, and the language carries you away–a real treat for a quiet afternoon.


  5. Bellezza

    That pictures is so wonderful! I’m in the mood for snow RIGHT NOW, sick to death of 95 degrees for at least the last two weeks here in Illinois. At first, I thought you were referring the book Snow by Orhan Pamuk. It was also a fabulous read, but I look forward to discovering your mention here.



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