Snow in May

Snow in May


Book - 2014
Average Rating:
Rate this:

A Minneapolis Star Tribune Best Book of 2014 * Recommended by The New Yorker , The New York Public Library, Alan Cheuse of NPR , Grantland * Shortlisted for the 2014 International Dylan Thomas Prize * Longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award

A "ruminative...lovely...accomplished" ( The New York Times Book Review ) and "touching" ( The Seattle Times) debut collection of stories that "sparkles with the brilliance and charm of Chekhov." (Simon Van Booy, award-winning author of Love Begins in Winter and The Illusion of Separateness )

Kseniya Melnik's Snow in May introduces a cast of characters bound by their relationship to the port town of Magadan in Russia's Far East, a former gateway for prisoners assigned to Stalin's forced-labor camps. Comprised of a surprising mix of newly minted professionals, ex-prisoners, intellectuals, musicians, and faithful Party workers, the community is vibrant and resilient and life in Magadan thrives even under the cover of near-perpetual snow. By blending history and fable, each of Melnik's stories transports us somewhere completely new: a married Magadan woman considers a proposition from an Italian footballer in '70s Moscow; an ailing young girl visits a witch doctor's house where nothing is as it seems; a middle-aged dance teacher is entranced by a new student's raw talent; a former Soviet boss tells his granddaughter the story of a thorny friendship; and a woman in 1958 jumps into a marriage with an army officer far too soon.

Weaving in and out of the last half of the twentieth century, Snow in May is an inventive, gorgeously rendered, and touching portrait of lives lived on the periphery where, despite their isolation--and perhaps because of it--the most seemingly insignificant moments can be beautiful, haunting, and effervescent.a

Publisher: New York : Henry Holt and Company, c2014.
ISBN: 9781627790079
Branch Call Number: FICTION MEL
Characteristics: 272 p. ; 22 cm.


From the critics

Community Activity


Add a Comment
Dec 05, 2015

Nine stories loosely linked by all being set in Magadan in northeast Russia. One feels that they are based on the author's family stories. There are no hard edges in these tales.

Jane60201 Aug 03, 2014

A wonderful chance to see how contemporary Russians live. Would highly recommend.

BCD2013 Jun 12, 2014

NYPL Staff Pick
A debut collection of nine inter-linked stories all set in Magadan, a remote Russian port city. The stories are set in different decades and involve different protagonists—former Gulag prisoners, witches, KGB officers, and mothers—yet they all reflect the isolation and dire poverty of Russia’s Far East. Melnik beautifully captures this stark, forbidding world.
- Wayne Roylance

Age Suitability

Add Age Suitability

There are no age suitabilities for this title yet.


Add a Summary

There are no summaries for this title yet.


Add Notices

There are no notices for this title yet.


Add a Quote

There are no quotes for this title yet.

Explore Further

Browse by Call Number


Subject Headings


Find it at CPL

To Top