Sep 12, 2022
‘mad and wonderful’ debut Snowflake published in paperback in US today
Now published in paperback in the US by HarperCollins the "mad and wonderful” (Roddy Doyle) debut from "your next Irish literary obsession" (Shondaland): a novel about joy and despair, family and love, and coming of age in the 21st century.
First published in the US in September 2021 People Magazine selected Snowflake as a People’s Pick in their October issue
Snowflake was also an Amazon US spotlight Pick For The Month Of September As Featured Debut, selected among Bustle’s Most Anticipated Books of the Month and picked as one of Shondaland 5 Best Books for September.
Snowflake was also chosen by The Nervous Book Club (TNB) as their September book.
Eighteen-year-old Debbie was raised on her family’s rural dairy farm, forty minutes and a world away from Dublin. She lives with her mother, Maeve, a skittish woman who takes to her bed for days on end, claims not to know who Debbie’s father is, and believes her dreams are prophecies. Rounding out their small family is Maeve’s brother Billy, who lives in a caravan behind their house, drinks too much, and likes to impersonate famous dead writers online. Though they may have their quirks, the Whites’ fierce love for one another is never in doubt.
But Debbie’s life is changing. Earning a place at Trinity College Dublin, she commutes to her classes a few days a week. Outside the sheltered bubble of her childhood for the first time, Debbie finds herself both overwhelmed and disappointed by her fellow students and the pace and anonymity of city life. While the familiarity of the farm offers comfort, Debbie still finds herself pulling away from it. Yet just as she begins to ponder the possibilities the future holds, a resurgence of strange dreams raises her fears that she may share Maeve’s fate. Then a tragic accident upends the family’s equilibrium, and Debbie discovers her next steps may no longer be hers to choose.
Snowflake is an affecting coming-of-age story about a young woman learning to navigate a world that constantly challenges her sense of self.
Praise for Snowflake in the US:
"Nealon’s razor-sharp focus on the shame surrounding mental health issues, sexual promiscuity and substance abuse in Irish culture — and her female characters’ determination to not only face but conquer their shortcomings . . . makes an indelible mark."
“In an entirely unique, dark, and hilariously human novel, Nealon manages to weave the pressure of youth with the hopeful reality of unconditional love.”
“A fresh and often humorous debut. . . . this tale of two worlds vibrates on an otherworldly frequency.”
“A vivid tale of courage and discovery, of engaging with a world that contains so many interpersonal traps, so many sources of shame, guilt, and self-deception. . . . The jokey give-and-take of the craic—and there is plenty of it—lightens the book's serious subject matter. . . . Nealon keeps us laughing to soften the rawness. And as all is filtered through Debbie's sharp consciousness, we come to appreciate the protagonist's fierce curiosity about how to guide oneself to live in the world.”
“A lithe and limber debut. . . . the reader who, like Debbie, allows herself to be carried along by the swift and unexpected world of Snowflake will be rewarded in the end.”
-Chicago Review of Books
"Reminds the reader of James Joyce’s most brilliant short story 'The Dead.' Like Joyce’s story, Nealon’s Snowflake is about compassion and acceptance, about the difficulty in aligning one’s dreams with reality. Nealon navigates that territory well, making the reader empathize with her damaged characters, allowing an understanding of depression and its consequences, and fashioning out of eccentrics and outcasts a company of ordinary heroes."
-New York Journal of Books
“An accomplished debut novel. . . . One of newcomer Louise Nealon's many skills is in finding the tenderness lurking underneath everyday exchanges in a captivating story about a smart working-class country girl who is trying to adjust to Trinity College and its privileged social set. . . . Made me laugh out loud and cringe simultaneously. . . . the book has the power to make you gasp at its revelations and its sheer poetry, which often unfolds with the languid pace of a lucid dream. There hasn't been a book quite like it out of Ireland in years.”