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Little of importance actually happens in “Cold Enough for Snow,” in which a mother and her adult daughter vacation in Japan during the typhoon season. Through the daughter’s narration, we follow the pair to museums, bookstores, restaurants and souvenir shops. Their largely one-sided conversations are interspersed with the narrator’s recollections of various people in her life: her uncle in Hong Kong; her partner, Laurie; her sister; a university lecturer.

In the hands of a less talented writer, this subdued plot could have been stultifying. Fortunately, this isn’t the case for Australian writer Jessica Au. Her second novel, “Cold Enough for Snow,” is a slender volume, but this restraint is an excellent argument for more tightly-written novellas over bloated bestsellers.

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