Many of you will know that one of my biggest pet peeves in fiction is inaccuracy in factual details. So far in my experience, the author Julia Glass seems to piss me off the most. Some of you have pointed out that if the writing is good enough one is less likely to notice such things.
And then came Michael Cunningham’s latest novel The Snow Queen. I’ve liked every Cunningham novel I have read (and I have read them all). Granted, it took me a second try to warm up to Specimen Days, but, overall I like his work. After over 100 pages of TSQ, I just don’t think I care enough to go on. I think I may be having trouble because it has a kind of searching, what’s it all about, kind of vibe and I am just not in the mood for that right now.
But more than anything the thing I can’t get over is that much of the imagery of the book is based on snow. Snow that supposedly happened on November 1, 2004 in New York City. Well, guess what?
It didn’t freaking snow on November 1, 2004 in New York City.
I’m not a total nut job, I didn’t go look that fact up just to look it up. I looked it up because it was the night before the Bush-Kerry election–which is also part of the story–and I remember distinctly what the weather was that day because I was knocking on doors in Cleveland trying to get out the vote for John Kerry. I know Cleveland and NYC can have different weather, but based on how the weather was that day in Ohio, I had a hard time believing there was snow in NYC. Not to mention the fact that snow that early in November is a rarity.
It just feels like Cunningham had a metaphor he was just dying to play out and couldn’t be bothered to make it plausible.
Well, I can’t be bothered to finish it.