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Snow Hunters

Snow Hunters

A Novel

  • freshman reading
Winner of the Young Lions Fiction Award, Snow Hunters is “a subtle, elegant, poignant read” (Oprah.com), featuring a Korean War refugee who emigrates to Brazil to become a tailor’s apprentice and confronts the wreckage of his past.

“Exquisitely enigmatic…a small but radiant star in the current literary firmament” (The Dallas Morning News), Snow Hunters traces the extraordinary journey of Yohan, a twenty-five-year-old North Korean POW refugee who defects from his country at the end of the Korean War, leaving his friends and family behind to seek a new life in a port town on the coast of Brazil.

Though he is a stranger in a strange land, throughout the years in this town, four people slip in and out of Yohan’s life: Kiyoshi, the Japanese tailor for whom he works, and who has his own secrets and a past he does not speak of; Peixe, the groundskeeper at the town church; and two vagrant children named Santi and Bia, a boy and a girl, who spend their days in the alleyways and the streets of the town. Yohan longs to connect with these people, but to do so he must sift through the wreckage of his traumatic past so he might let go and move on.

In Snow Hunters, “quotidian-surreal craft-master” (New York magazine) Paul Yoon proves love can dissolve loneliness; that hope can wipe away despair; and that a man who lost a country can find a new home. “The brief, simple sentences that form this elegant tone poem of a novel…have the effect of making you slow down to read them—which is a fitting way to experience the story of a man unmoored by memory and time” (Entertainment Weekly). This is a heartrending story of second chances, told with unerring elegance and absolute tenderness.
  • Simon & Schuster | 
  • 208 pages | 
  • ISBN 9781476714837 | 
  • August 2013
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Video

Paul Yoon on the inspiration for SNOW HUNTERS

In this elegant and highly anticipated debut novel, a Korean War refugee must confront the wreckage of his past as he begins a new life in Brazil.

Read an Excerpt

Snow Hunters 1
That winter, during a rainfall, he arrived in Brazil.

He came by sea. On the cargo ship he was their only passenger. In the last days of the ship’s journey it had grown warm and when he remarked that there was no snow, the crew members laughed. They had been throwing fish overboard, as they always did, for luck, and he watched as the birds twisted their bodies in the wind and dove. He had never seen the ocean before, had never journeyed so far as he had in this month alone. He was called Yohan and he... see more

Hear an Excerpt

About the Author

Paul Yoon
Photograph by Peter Yoon

Paul Yoon

Paul Yoon was born in New York City. His first book was the story collection Once the Shore. It was selected as a New York Times Notable Book, a Best Debut Fiction by National Public Radio, and won the Asian American Literary Award and the 5 under 35 award from the National Book Foundation.

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