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The Snow Child | [Eowyn Ivey]

The Snow Child

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.
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Publisher's Summary

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

What the Critics Say

"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)

What Members Say

Average Customer Rating

3.7 (11 )
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There are no listener reviews for this title yet.

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  • B Gumbrell
    4/13/13
    Overall
    "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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • MS
    chichester, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "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!

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • K Bookworm
    UK
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "Exceptional, original"

    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.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Alice
    Aberdeen, United Kingdom
    4/7/13
    Overall
    "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.



    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Dappledwood
    UK
    4/2/13
    Overall
    "Gripping read- perfect for Christmastime"

    A lovely, slightly mystical tale of hardship and love in Alaska. I was captivated by it. There are unanswered questions at the end which made for great discussion. Highly recommended .

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Borbála
    London, United Kingdom
    3/25/13
    Overall
    "An absolute beauty"

    This audiobook was such a lovely listen. The narration took some time to get used to, the rendition a bit drab. A fabulous writing though with such amazing atmosphere and beauty of characters, an absolute enchantment. It kept me in complete suspense about whether the girl is real or even the imaginings of the couple or a fairy-tale character, almost the whole time. Almost...

    Unfortunately though the writer got carried away and there were many very unnecessary chapters which made it quite difficult to finish. I would easily edit out most of the last quarter of the book which is a pity because for this reason I can't give it 5 stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Megg
    LONDON, United Kingdom
    12/23/12
    Overall
    "Highly recommended"

    Beautiful beautiful book. I'm not much interested in fairytales, magical realism or stories about people who may or may not exist but nevertheless I was drawn to this book even though it seemed this might be the case. I'm so glad I did not let it put me off. I fell in love with the characters. Its one of those books that leave a grief shaped hole in your life when you finish as you don't want your relationship with the people in the book to end, there has been such pleasure having them in your life that you want them there forever. Ditto the landscape which is like a character too, and one I wanted to go on relating to. Highly recommended.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Sally
    United Kingdom
    6/21/12
    Overall
    "enchanting"

    I love the way this story weaves a fairytale into real life and leaves you to make up your own mind which it is. The narrator's characterisation is good and each figure is instantly recognisable when she speaks their words. I thought it was a beautiful story and I didn't want it to end.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • April
    ASHBOURNE, United Kingdom
    6/7/12
    Overall
    "Beautiful Novel"

    I'm a visual artist, and this novel was an inspiration to me. The visuals of snowy peaks, ethereal creatures, and crystaline ice were spectacular. The characters were also likeable and relatable. You're transported into the wilderness of Alaska.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • @Scattered_Laura
    NEATH, United Kingdom
    5/16/12
    Overall
    "Beautiful but slow..."

    This is a difficult book to review as it's simply not the kind of book which I would usually be enthusiastic about. You might wonder why I picked it as my Audible download of the month, in that case, right? Well, the blurb intrigued me and the cover enchanted me. I had hopes of a haunting narrative, evocative of old, dark fairy tales. What I got was something different.

    Ivey creates a phenomenally beautiful sense of place and it is evident that she is intimately familiar with the Alaskan wilderness she describes. The detail given to the surroundings was definitely my favourite aspect of the story. However, I felt that the characters weren't nearly as vivid. I have a suspicion that Ivey did this deliberately as the lack of colour given to either Jack or Mabel was indicative of their ailing relationship.

    This is one of those books which is going to get four or five stars from a whole bunch of reviewers. It's beautifully written... but in my opinion, it was also slow. Actually, it goes further than that; I think it was dull.

    I am definitely in the minority. This book has an average Goodreads rating of 4.06 out of 5 and it is highly praised in the reader reviews there. It is described as “gorgeous” and “magic” and “heartbreakingly beautiful”. While I do agree with these sentiments on some level, I prefer books with a bit more pace and action.

    This is a nice book, it's just not my cup of tea. Therefore, I'm going to give The Snow Child three stars.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
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