G.A. Kathryns’ independently-published novel Snow City (2017) is a story about a ghost, narrated by a kind of a ghost. The POV character Echo Japonica creates Snow City in her mind as a preservation mechanism responsive to the terror she experiences in a dystopian reality. The fantastical part of this creation is that she inhabits her imagination physically, along with a ghost. And the living is not too bad until her creation doesn’t turn out to be as safe and warm as her conscious mind had hoped.
The narrative begins with, for me, much too much exposition, and even when the story launches in earnest, it flies like a pelican — heavily, beating broad wings madly to hold itself up.
There is honest creativity here, however, and some nice moments, interesting characters, and quite a bit of heart. Readers may need patience to reach those moments, however, because of Echo’s disorienting voice and meandering beginning. The narrative style is deliberately over-formal. Apparently Echo talks like that to hold people at arm’s length, but the tact has an identical effect on the reader, and she is hard to connect with.
As I read, I remembered the first time I set out to read Gene Wolfe and picked up The Land Across. (Maybe not the best choice for a Wolfe novice.) And Snow City has a similarly bewildering quality, but without the same level of eerie Wolfe creds to pull it off.
On balance, I liked the story and its arc, certainly better than its narration.