Thursday, November 22, 2012

The Snow Child, Eowyn Ivey

Mabel had known there would be silence. That was the point, after all.

The Snow Child is an amazing and moving novel. In Alaska in the 1920s, middle-aged homesteaders Jack and Mabel have made a quiet life full of hard work for themselves in the wilderness. They both really wanted a child, but couldn't have one. Then, in the snow one day, they make a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child is gone, but there are tiny footprints leading into the woods. For weeks after, Jack and Mabel keep catching glimpses of a little blond girl alone in the woods. The girl, who calls herself Faina, shows up on their doorstep. She's almost magical: she hunts with a red fox and somehow manages to survive in the harsh wilderness by herself. But things are rarely what they appear to be.

The book is described as "enchanting, mesmerizing, dazzling, shining with imaginative power, and a tale both universal and brilliantly unique." I think it's all of those things. On the publicity materials I got with The Vanishing Act, it was compared to The Snow Child. But I think The Snow Child is much better. The writing is more engaging, and the story more remarkable. Faina is so mysterious; I couldn't help wishing that we knew a bit more about her. I loved that she hunted with a red fox. I've always wanted a fox. I wanted to know more about Jack and Mabel too. Both of their families are explained a little bit, but not much.

This was an amazing novel, and I look forward to reading more from Eowyn Ivey. It had a wonderful cover too. I loved how it was partly based on The Snow Maiden, a Russian folktale, but not completely. As the jacket says, this tale is both universal and brilliantly unique. A lot of people can relate to it, but there hasn't been much like it before (at least, not to my knowledge). I would heartily recommend The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey.

386 pages.
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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