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.
Details of book:
Published November 6th 2012 by Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Books (first published January 1st 2012)
Original title: The Snow Child
ISBN: 0316175668 (ISBN13: 9780316175661)
Literary Awards: Pulitzer Prize Nominee for Fiction (2013), Indies Choice Book Award for Adult Debut (2013), UK National Book Awards for International Author of the Year (2012), Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Prize Nominee (2012), Tähtifantasia award Nominee (2014)
I, being an ultimate lover of fairy tales,(it is NOT a childhood thing!) was fascinated with the plot the moment I read it. The Snow Child is based on the Russian fairy tale of the same name. The fairy tale goes the way the story goes:
An old couple are childless and sapped of all the happiness of being a parent. On a snowy day, they make a child out of snow, and a child comes out of the sculpture. The child embraces the couple and promises to stay with them.
Something like that. Of course there is more to that, oh much more, but no spoilers. This book is less “unrealistically magical” than the fairy tale, it’s magical on its own account, the magic of snow, of Faina, of love and of Alaska. Admit it. You’ve wanted to live in Alaska. We all have thought about it at least once! We perceive Alaska to be free, wild, daunting, magical and daring. However, Eowyn Ivey (she lives there, so believe her) describes Alaska the way it is. All of that, plus it being dangerous and bleak throughout winters.(it can be depressing.) Speaking of which, somehow, the cycle and routines of cold, lonely winters further brings us into the point why the hell Mabel and Jack are so depressed. I mean, come-on. Everyday cleaning of the house and stoning? Nah. Not for me. (I want to explore Alaska so bad after this)
Alaska is shown in all her beauty here, all her fury. “Snow is fun! I like snow!” that’s what we’d all probably say, but in The Snow Child, snow is enemy, snow is beauty, fury, love, life and magic. The descriptions of the place is just so vivid, you love it terribly much, but you’ll be afraid. Alaska is a whole mystery to uncover(not Alaska Young!).
What I did not really like was the loopholes and unconnected-ness. There were just these what-the-hell moments and you just wonder about irrelevant things like where they got the potatoes or some other thing. The story jumped from the different happenings at times, too quickly occasionally, and you just get *almost* pissed.
What I loved best was when Ivey, to stab her points through, make all characters, except Mabel and Jack, cease to know the existence of Faina. And there are these holy-shit-Faina-was-here-just-seconds-ago-damn-you moments and you just want the characters to see Faina. But the point is, what if Faina wasn’t there? Like Jack was afraid of, what if he was going crazy? Chasing nothing, no one through the trees? The other characters make us feels like we too, are hallucinating. And we question Mabel and Jack’s sanity as well. These little points help the story develop into the magic it’s supposed to be. Also, right in the front part, Mabel deals with suicidal thoughts because of loneliness, regret, pain, and emptiness. We can just see how much Mabel needs someone to care for and someone to care for her, and how much the bleakness and wilderness of Alaska has taken a toll on her, how she fears the forest at the start but has come to live within it, breathe the forest and call it home in the end. To NOT reveal so much, I’ll just stop raving about this book. Do try to buy it/check it out because it’s really worth your time.
My COVER Rating:
My OVERALL Rating: