BOOK REVIEWS

The Snow Child: A Novel Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2018-02-21 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 1 user ratings
ISBN:9780316175661
LANGUAGE:English

" Evokes a strong sense of place...the frigid and unforgiving Alaskan landscape. Charming and magical story. I'm not a fan of fantasy novels so I was surprised at just how much I loved this book. All the characters were well developed, likable and their relationships with each other were tender and loving. I especially enjoyed Esther, their salty but lovable "Ma Kettle" like neighbor. She provided lively, laugh out loud moments in an otherwise gentle and restrained fairy tale. " said.

"Poignant, melancholy and slow-moving, The Snow Child probably isn't for everyone and I'll admit that it probably would have been a 3 1/2 star if I hadn't read it at such a seasonally appropriate time. With temperatures in the single digits, the wind whipping outside, and my part of the world brought to a halt by the "wintry mix" falling from the sky, this was the perfect book to curl up with and therefore I'm tacking on that extra half star anyway.

Well past middle-age, Jack and Mabel strike out on their own when they move to Alaska in the 1920's. Such an adventure would typically be a young couple's game, but Jack and Mabel are lured to the recently acquired U.S. territory in the hope that it will allow them to leave behind the one great disappointment in their lives: the stillborn child they buried in an orchard back home. Proximity to friends and family who have children of their own means that Jack and Mabel's emotional wound has never fully healed, so they purposefully break away in the hope that they will be drawn closer together and move past their grief.

It's not long, however, before the long, dark Alaskan winters take their toll on the couple. Isolated in their own spheres--Jack in the fields, Mabel in the home--depression and blame begin to settle into an otherwise happy marriage. In a moment of youthful spontaneity, the couple builds a snow child one night and it's not long before they begin to see a young girl, a wild thing at home in the cold and the forest, moving through the woods and causing them to tentatively believe that maybe they've at last been granted a child of their own making.

Based upon a Russian fairy tale, The Snow Child could easily be maddening to those who like definitive answers and clear resolutions. Is the young girl (whose name, we learn, is Faina) an orphaned child, a daughter born of snow and winter come to life, or a figment created from depression and longing? There are no clear answers to these questions, but I don't think they are questions that really matter because, in the end, The Snow Child is about grief and forgiveness.

In her portrayal of Jack and Mabel, Ivey gives us the basic template for any marriage: no matter how strong the bond, individual grievances, both real and imagined, can build and fester. Whether or not a couple confronts these grievances determines if the marriage will fall apart or hold together. There's also complexity to the characters. At first, Mabel seems too refined and erudite for survival in the rugged wilderness, while Jack faces both the past and the future with unflinching stoicism. As we're allowed into their interior lives, however, we learn that Mabel has hidden strengths that hold her in good stead and Jack hurts far more than he's willing to admit, lest it render him unable to protect Mabel. Through their relationship with Faina, Jack and Mabel confront the painful past together and are ultimately blessed with the life they believed was well beyond their grasp.

Cross posted at This Insignificant Cinder
" said.

"I'm puzzled as to why this isn't considered Young Adult. Well, more of an eyebrow raise of sardonic 'Really? You're going to go that way?', for I have a pretty good idea of why this was pushed up into the adult realm. I simply don't agree with the argument for such.

Now, I adore new renditions of old tales as a matter of principle, for a host of reasons ranging from the past being a foreign and sometimes hateful country, to a childhood lust for urban fantasy that I never quite outgrew. Any story may be retold, but even my current appetite for more sedate literature has not dampened the intrigue that sparks up whenever I see mention of a fairy tale told anew. It is that otherworldly aura in the hard-bitten setting of modern times that I crave, the best being the exquisite balance between the baleful spikes of reality and the Old Testament viciousness of Grimm. Needless to say, I went into this story with definite expectations.

Said expectations were not carried through. The characters were solid yet utterly predictable, the plot meandered along the original story line with little effort to circumvent the old with the delightful heartbeat of the new, and that visual imagery I had heard so much about failed to inspire the slightest bit of enraptured imagination. Instead, I was left with the feeling that while the author should get credit for creating realistic letters for her non-writerly characters to send to each other, I would have preferred it had this subpar decency not carried through the entirety of the book. When choosing between characters at a realistic level of scripting and a masterful author more concerned with writing than with believable differentiation, I will always choose the latter.

I must mention that during the reading of this I was also being simultaneously bowled over by Wide Sargasso Sea, whose sharply lined prose of dripping luridness would likely have paled the majority of most novels' imagery to a fraction of their power when in solitude. This dual reading may have also contributed to the feeling of reading drag. WSS is half the length of TSC with much briefer sentences, but every word of every line of every page is steeped in meaningful craftsmanship. Compared to this, TSC comes off as both clumsy in structure and bloated in the packing peanuts rather than the dense sense of the word; the page paid per inch of insight was high with this one.

In the end, it is this overarching simplicity that both failed to appeal to me as well as made me wonder at the lack of Young Adult label on this book. Granted, there are a number of references to sex and other more erotic undertakings, but never were they explicated beyond a few vague hints at the less 'obscene' body parts. 'Twas this reason that likely shoved the rating up, a false inflation in my mind that is no way accompanied by the usual increase in brutality or complexity of literature for maturer audiences.

Ah well. At least it didn't win the Pulitzer. That would have sunk my evaluation of the Prize itself even lower.
" said.

" Onvan : The Snow Child - Nevisande : Eowyn Ivey - ISBN : 316175676 - ISBN13 : 9780316175678 - Dar 386 Safhe - Saal e Chap : 2012 " said.

""It was beautiful, Mabel knew, but it was a beauty that ripped you open and scouted you clean so that you were left helpless and exposed, if you lived at all."

What a beautiful, harsh and wintry tale! An odd pick for me to read in June/July but I felt like I was right there in deepest Alaska, with the powerful landscapes and dark winters.

Mabel and Jack have never been able to have children, since they had a still born baby. Escaping their grief and the stares of those around them, they move to rural Alaska where they can begin anew.

One day they build a girl out of snow and so begins a magical tale of a girl born to the snow and ice, who visits during the wintertime but flees as soon as the snow starts melting.

It is a powerful story of love and loss, made all the more poignant with the harsh landscape depicted and the struggles the people go through in order to survive such extreme climates.

An incredible tale with real, honest and believable characters. They are all flawed, they are all human, and they all become entranced by The Snow Child.
" said.

" 4.5 shining stars Utterly, utterly gorgeous. Review to come. " said.

"

“In my old age, I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among the trees.”
Many Russian folk tales feature a common character known as Snegurochka (the Snow Maiden). She is the daughter of the immortal Gods: Father Frost and Mother Spring, and she usually goes to live with humans to care for an elderly couple who have no children. Some folk tales feature her as a girl unable to know love until Mother Spring takes pity and gives her this ability, but as soon as she falls in love, her heart warms her and she melts. Other tales show her melting when coming in contact with fire or warmth. In Eowyn Ivey's debut novel: The Snow Child, all three of these themes are incorporated and the result is otherworldly. This novel is harsh and feral but also shows the beauty of resilience, it is both sad and hopeful, it is filled with magical realism but manages to remain palpably real. I found The Snow Child to be absolutely stunning and I can't believe I waited this long to read it. There were times it felt a bit too long which served as a sporadic distraction, but overall it was a near perfect read for the winter season. Seriously, check it out.

My favorite quote:
“She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting even as they strike. How did such force and beauty come to be in something so small and fleeting and unknowable? You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them, and in fact Mabel had come to suspect the opposite. To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers.”


12/20/2017:
Such a lovely story with stunning writing. A little long but I absolutely loved it overall. Full review to come ❤️" said.

"The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey is a wonderful fairytale for adults(and whoever fancies it) set against the harsh backdrop of 1920s Alaska. Sometimes a little of what you fancy does you good ! And so I fancied a fairytale and it did me the world of good!!!

This is the story of Jack and Mabel a childless couple who move to Alaska to farm and to etch a living from the harsh and frozen land. A man and woman set in their ways, Jack the stubborn sort who is too proud to ask for help and Mabel who fears friendship and both mourning the loss of their only child in their own lonely way.

One night after a heavy snowfall they make a snow child and adorning the figure with mittens and scarf. The following morning the snow child has been trampled and the mittens and scarf are missing and the couple spot a small figure running through the trees. Mabel recalls an old Russian Fairy tale about a snow child coming to life and hopes she has made her longed for child that she can love. Is she real or a just imagined by Mabel and Jack?

There is so much to love about this story, I was so excited to read an adult fairytale, The details of Pioneer life in Alaska are beautifully written along with the description of the harsh winter environment and the animals naive to this country.

This is a novel rich in characters and prose and for a debut novel it is extremely well written. A tale of love and loss of friendships and hardships. A book that will stay with you long after you finish.



" said.

April 2018 New Book:

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