The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey -386 pages
Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees. This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
My Review: 4.5 stars
What a unique book. Part fairy tale and part fiction make this a treasured story. The author did a fine job bringing the reader to the depths of the Alaskan wilderness. Truly wretched conditions are the background to this story in which love and the yearning for a child never had are at the forefront. Per the author, this story is a “retelling” of an old russian fairy tale in which there is obviously much artistic license. I loved Mabel’s cautious love for the snow child and how she learned to accept what she could get rather than want for more. The relationship between Jack and Mabel as well as how they pseudo parented Garrett Benson were very interesting subplots. If you can suspend reality, then you will enjoy this book very much. I highly recommend.
Quotes I liked:
-Tags: 2012, Fiction, Magical Realism, Book Club
Labels: 2012, Book Club, Fiction, Magical Realism