A bewitching tale of heartbreak and hope set in 1920s Alaska. Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start for themselves in a homestead 'at the world's edge' in the raw Alaska wilderness. But as the days grow shorter, Jack is losing his battle to clear the land, and Mabel can no longer contain her grief for the baby she lost many years before. The evening the first snow falls, their mood unaccountably changes. In a moment of tenderness, the pair is surprised to find they building a snowman - or rather a snow girl - together.
The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared, and Jack can't quite shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure - a child? - running through the spruce trees in the dawn light. And how to explain the little but very human tracks Mabel finds at the edge of their property? Written with the clarity and vividness of the Russian fairy-tale from which it takes its inspiration, THE SNOW CHILD is an instant classic - the story of a couple who take a child into their hearts, all the while knowing they can never truly call her their own.
©2012 Eowyn Ivey (P)2012 Headline Digital
"This book is real magic, shot through from cover to cover with the cold, wild beauty of the Alaskan frontier. Eowyn Ivey writes with all the captivating delicacy of the snowfalls she so beautifully describes." (Ali Shaw, author of THE GIRL WITH GLASS FEET)
"If Willa Cather and Gabriel Garcia Marquez had collaborated on a book, THE SNOW CHILD would be it." (Robert Goolrick, author of A RELIABLE WIFE)
"Eowyn Ivey's prose brings the chilly northern wilderness to life." (Bookseller)
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"Charming and enchanting"
Enchanting, engaging, touching
The clever, light touch link between the story and the Russian fairytale - elegantly done.
When the Snow Child first appears
Yes - but I'm not giving it away
"A beautiful, moving fairy tale"
I would definitely recommend this book to a friend because it is a really interesting story, beautifully written and told well. Part historical fiction, part magical realism, part fairy tale.
I loved the way the story retold the Snow Child fairy tale by blending the original tales with the lives of an older couple trying to survive on an Alaskan homestead in the 1920s. The characters were really well written and there were so many truly emotional scenes in the book. I really felt for them.
I liked Debra Monk's performance of Esther the best. She didn't really put on 'voices' so much, but it was clear who was speaking from different inflections.
I listen to audiobooks when driving so I never listen to them all in one sitting, but if I'd had a long journey I think I could've listened to it in one go without getting bored.
"Very beautiful in every respect"
Atmospheric, moving, ethereal.
I listened to this book nearly a year ago and it remains in my mind as a very special book. It is perfect. The story looks at a couple who move to Alaska in the early 20th century to find a new life. The descriptions of their struggles on the land are moving. I enjoyed learning about Alaska and grew to understand it through the two families around whom the narrative is based. The author paints a vivid picture of the isolation of settlers and their friendship in a widespread community. One of the couples is childless and the wife, Mable, is devastated by this. She has many regrets about her past. She lacks the confidence of her neighbour who has 3 strapping sons who are able to work the land. Depression descends on her and she is unable to support her husband (Jack) in his efforts to tame such an inhospitable land. However, when a little girl appears in the snow from nowhere, life for the community, and in particular Mable, begins to change. Both the language and the narration are superb. It is so easy to imagine the landscape and the emotions evoked. I have been waiting for another book from Eowyn Ivy but to date it has not materialised.
"Beautiful winter story"
Yes in fact I have done this!
The descriptions of the snowy country.
Both in parts.
A bit like Little House on the Prairie. The detail in the book is great but i found the story depressing. I was hoping that it would be so much more magical. I would never recommend this book
An interesting combination of a traditional folktale and a story of life in Alaska. Eowyn Ivey captures the harshness of life in a hostile environment, it really does feel cold!! The characters are well drawn and easy to relate to and the snow child adds a hauntingly mysterious element which lifts the book out of the ordinary.
"A book of two halves"
In many ways, this is a beautiful book, full of charm and imagination. The principle question of whether the snow child is a real person or a spirit from another dimension draws the reader in. The characters are well drawn though not always likeable and the writing is captivating. However, I felt the book lost it's way about half way through and could have ended at several earlier points leaving the story all the richer for it. I began to lose patience with the characters as it ploughed on and struggled to finish it. Having said that, the first half was wonderful and worth reading just for that.
"Wrap up warm!"
This audio book was truly a haunting listen.
The descriptions of the landscape and the elements stayed with me for weeks. It was a long journey of many hours with no rushing which really gave it a sense of wilderness and stillness.
If you get all cosy and warm first you can get through it!
Expecting a children's tale, this was nothing of the sort, though crafted alongside, carefully woven in and out of an ancient folk tale. Moving, vivid and totally absorbing. I sat listening for hours, unable to stop. This is writing of the highest order, totally original, equally magical for those who believe in the supernatural and the true cynic.The scenery and settings were perfect, the cold and the isolation, the colours and the seasons, early 20th Century Alaskan life in the raw.
"Beautiful, magical, haunting and poetic"
This story is beautifully told, the prose saturated with wilderness atmosphere, I almost feel I've been there myself.
A couple endures a harsh winter in poverty and isolation, tainted by grief. One evening, their mood lifts, when they play in the newly fallen snow and build a little snowman, complete with scarf and mittens. In the morning, nothing remains but a broken heap of snow and a trail of small footprints leading away. A pale little girl in that same scarf and mittens eventually emerges from the forest and comes to play a crucial role in Jack and Mabel's life. But they have very different ideas about who or what she is, and what she means to them.
Until the last page, I am left wondering whether the central storyline is fantasy or reality. Is the girl magical, or flesh and blood? We're no more sure than Jack and Mabel, who come to see her as the child they never had.
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