Hyperion, Feb 2002, 23.45, 416 pp.
It's the beginning semester at Atherton College, a private, posh and richly endowed school where a cross-section of freshman are getting their first taste of freedom from adults. Eighteen years old Randall is in the middle of an affair with his male, middle aged and married professor. He's desperate that his best friend Katherine Barker, also a freshman, doesn't find out about the relationship because he wants to keep her respect and friendship.
Kathryn's friendship is the least of his problems when his professor's wife dies, the toxicology report showing a high level of alcohol and narcotics. Randall learns that the professor was involved with another woman who died in a similar manner. With the help of a friend, Randall investigates the matter but he stirs up secrets that are better left buried for everyone's sake.
THE SNOW GARDEN is gothic in content and tone, a dark picture of the lengths people go to so they can hide their true selves. Just about every character in this novel is wearing a mask but it is up to the audience to decide whether it is to fool others or themselves. Christopher Rice, author of A DENSITY OF SOULS is a talented, creative and intellectual writer who knows how to lay bare the truth about human nature.
This report prepared by Harriet Klausner