Glassmusic: A Novel by Rebecca Snow – Review
In her debut novel, Glassmusic, painterly prose brushes the page in sweeping greens and blues. Weaved throughout that lush 1920’s Norwegian landscape, is the heart of the narrative: A coming of age story in which young Ingrid struggles to come to terms with the sexual assault she witnessed against her sister, Kari.
Ingrid’s blind father, who relies on her to see for him, teachers her to play music on water-filled glasses. Those melodies, along with guiding her father, are what protect her from her secret and ground her through her tumultuous childhood. Her mother, who is jealous that her husband needs Ingrid more than her, looks away from her daughter in disappointment. And her sister, Kari, inflicts her with physical and emotional harm.
Ingrid seeks companionship, and quickly trusts Stefan, a Parisian boy visiting from France. It is this relationship, and their individual interpretations of faith and literature that spur Ingrid to become more aware of the world beyond her own microscopic one. Along with her newfound knowledge, she explores distant fjords, hills, and woods not only to escape the memory of her sister’s assault, but also to figure out who she is and who she wants to be. Is she a protector of secrets and lies or a teller of the truth? As she navigates her way toward awareness, slipping over rocky terrain along the way, she realizes that she needs her family, and that her family needs her. More so, as a reflective older child, she realizes she needs to tell the truth.
In Glassmusic, Snow creates palpable characters rich with universal emotions and conflict: anger, pity, empathy, loyalty, forgiveness, jealousy, and identity.
Ingrid’s father says, “Talking is like music, you must practice. (123).” Perhaps the same can be said for making sense of the unfathomable – it takes practice.
Rebecca Snow’s debut novel, Glassmusic, was released from Conundrum Press in November 2014. Her poetry has been published in Blue Moon, Pooled Ink, and was added to the Denver Poetry Map. She won first place for narrative nonfiction in the 2007 Writers Studio Contest. Her piece was featured in Progenitor. Snow received her MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Montana and teaches English at the Community College of Aurora. Originally from Seattle, she lives in Denver, Colorado with her son and enjoys hiking the great Rocky Mountains.