I want to understand my mother

“Cold Enough For Snow” by Jessica Au Review

I was supposed to be out tonight to watch another film at Sydney Film Fest but my bleeding uterus has chained me to my bed. Having no energy to flip through streaming sites or do anything, I have decided to write an incoherent review of this book that I read last Tuesday.

Let me start by confessing that while I was reading this book in a café I had to stop myself from crying in public. Having read the synopsis (a mother and daughter goes on a short trip to Japan in winter, mother grew up in Hong Kong and the daughter in Australia) I already knew this would make me emotional but I didn’t expect it to feel so personal. The plot is deceptively simple. Both of them just travel around Tokyo and Kyoto to take in culture and food. However, the writer has filled it with meticulous observations that lead to deeper significance between the mother and daughter’s relationship which made it such a compelling read.

Reading this book feels like watching a good short film…watching a short film at the same time being a character in the film and seeing yourself trying to understand the woman who gave birth to you, while also trying to make sense of who you are as a person. I don’t know if I’m making sense to be honest lol. I am famished.

One thing that broke me (aside from other little things that hit me in the chest) was a small moment where the mother asked if Japan is cold enough for snow because she has never seen snow, and I don’t know why but somehow when I read that particular scene I heard my mother’s voice. And there I realised how much I miss her (not being able to visit home for three years sucks). Anywho, enough with my melodrama, I think my main point is Jessica Au has masterfully shown in her writing the gnawing desire to understand and connect with someone you love.

It is now winter here in Sydney, almost half of the year has passed by. I sometimes still feel guilty for not reading enough but then I remember how my younger self dreamed of living the life I’ve read in books, and now I get to live that life. My new dream is that someday I get to enjoy this little life close to the people I love including my mother.

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