This slender volume concerns the life of Yuko Akita, who lives with his father in Hokkaido, Japan. It’s the spring of 1884, and Yuko has just turned seventeen, the age when young men choose a vocation. Against his father’s wishes, Yuko wishes to become a poet, a writer of haiku. He is enchanted by snow, writing poem after poem celebrating its whiteness, brilliance, purity. Not until he travels to study with a master artist, a painter named Soseki, does he discover the true meaning and purpose of color, and of love. The writing has a spare, ageless feel to it, reminiscent of snow itself. The tale is simple enough, but there is a depth underlying it that makes for satisfying re-reading.