In a charming introduction, Mark Kurlansky, best known for his surprisingly absorbing books about salt and codfish, considers why winter gets such a bad rap ... full of tidbits – so much so that the book often feels, bracingly, like a stroll through a curiosity shop ... Brunner renders his research with a light, lyrical touch, evoking the tone of conversation rather than classroom instruction ... His prevailing argument – that winter is beautiful in spite of, or perhaps even because of, its stark clarity – often requires him to make his case with word pictures ... A general reader can’t know how to divide credit between author and translator for the poetic language of the text, although in his previous books under different translators, Brunner has also sounded like a deeply visual writer ... The long-ago origins of the pictures in Winterlust convey a not-so-subtle sense of elegy, leaving us to wonder if Brunner has come not only to praise winter, but to bury it. The open question, given the realities of climate change, involves whether the familiar patterns of winter will become a thing of the past.
... lightly steps us through some of the many 'particular enchantments' of winter ... In this enjoyable examination of the enduring human fascination with snow and cold, Mr. Brunner rekindles the heat in our frozen childhood memories and offers insight into the history, art and science of winter ... would have benefited from a closer edit ... Mr. Brunner’s winning book is a reassuring, nostalgic reminder that winter is the season of both play and regeneration, which may yet turn to glorious summer.
As days grow shorter, with a nip in the air, as ice rims the lakes and frost settles into the ground, my eagerness for the queen of all seasons, winter, grows commensurately. What a delight, then, to discover a book that speaks to this anticipation ... a novel exploration of various components of winter ... One of the charms of this book is that it was written in Europe. Brunner gives readers an insider’s glimpse into winter in the Old World ... what about St. Paul’s legendary Winter Carnival? There’s no mention of the ice palaces, the sculptures, the Vulcans. Minnesotans, I feel your indignation at this snub! ... briskly translated from the German by Mary Catherine Lawler, rendering it an easy read, if perhaps robbing the essays of some poetry ... The illustrations are delightful and help convey how the idea of winter fully engages the human imagination.