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The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

The Snow Child (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Eowyn Ivey

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1,7861633,932 (3.98)230
Title:The Snow Child
Authors:Eowyn Ivey
Info:Headline Review (2012), Hardcover, 432 pages

Work details

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey (Author) (2012)

  1. 40
    The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw (Becchanalia)
    Becchanalia: Same delicate language and imagery, a similar sense of wistful beauty and elements of magical realism.
  2. 11
    The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker (Iudita)
  3. 01
    Silas Marner by George Eliot (suniru)
    suniru: Both books center upon orphans and both have fairy tale roots.

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English (158)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (162)
Showing 1-5 of 158 (next | show all)
This was a beautiful story. Based on the Scandinavian fairytale of the snow child, an old lonely couple try to escape their sadness of not having children by settling in the Alaskan wilderness during the 1920s. Their life is not only physically difficult, but dark and depressing. That is until a wild and maybe magical child comes into their lives. The writing for this novel is absolutely beautiful and I loved the descriptions of the harsh Alaska land. Such a beautiful, uplifting story. ( )
1 vote jmoncton | Mar 15, 2015 |
The author's pleasant, gentle variation on the Russian folktale "Snegourochka" ["The snow maiden"]. A middle-aged childless couple, Mabel and Jack, moves to Alaska to homestead in the 1920s. Devastated at having lost a child in childbirth and unable to have more children, they have left the States to start over. One day it snows and they build a snow child; soon after they meet a mysterious little girl, who suddenly appears and along with her red fox thrives in the winter weather. The couple become more and more attached to her, but she leaves them as spring arrives each year.

Jack is led by her and discovers her secret dwelling place. The couple wonders about her but finally accepts her as she is. Compassionate neighbors, George and Esther Benson, help Mabel and Jack through their first hard winter; the Benson's boy Garrett is indispensable to them. The four adults become fast friends. Years pass. As in the original folktale, the ending is sad but there is a note of joy to relieve the melancholy.

A beautiful story. ( )
  janerawoof | Mar 4, 2015 |
That, my friends was truly something special.

A perfect example of an author doing a "literary" interpretation of genre fiction (in this case a fairy tale)the right way. It seems to me the difference is that the author didn't set out to write this book to smugly show all those other authors, "Here...this is how you write a fairy tale," but rather wrote it because she simply loves fairy tales and is able to bring an amazingly lucid, gritty and yet deeply magical sensibility to bear on its well worn themes and tropes.

It also helps that she is an amazingly gifted writer with an exquisite sense of the things that truly move people; Love. Fidelity. The land. Work. Wonder. a sense of the wildness rushing beneath our mundane reality that we so infrequently glimpse. The characters in this book are so heartbreakingly real, so lovingly full of the flaws and the gifts and the pain and the joy of everyday life, so deeply alive that as I turned the last page...I hated to leave them, as corny as that may sound.

Read it. Put it next on your list and don't let anyone tell you otherwise. The other books can wait. This is the real thing. ( )
  bigpapageek | Feb 28, 2015 |
The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey; Kindle; (4*)

This very imaginative story takes its theme from a children's Russian fable of the same name, written by Freya Littledale and Barbara Lavallee. The characters are clearly defined as trailblazers, fighting the harsh winters and wilderness of Alaska in the early part of the twentieth century. Developed well, you can sense the contrast in the characters: Esther is larger than life, sturdy and sure-footed, Mabel is frail and tentative, George, a long time dweller in this seeming wasteland, is a wonderful kind, giving man and neighbor, and Jack is sincere and overwhelmed with his effort to develop the land and make it thrive, in spite of his age and inexperience. Faina is depicted as faerie like, magical and young, when we first meet her. Garrett, the Benson's son, is a boy of the wilderness; he loves it and prefers hunting and camping to farming. The characters are wholesome and thoughtful, helping each other in times of need, living off the environment that they are taming.
Childless and bereft, Mabel and Jack, a loving couple tired of being ridiculed and stared at, as if childlessness was an affliction, decide to move away from family and friends to Alaska, where they can begin their lives again, alone, living off the untamed land. It is a tender tale of deep love and loss, told beautifully with reality and fantasy mixing together with an easy grace.
Struggling to survive a task far greater than they imagined, they grow a little apart, become depressed and forlorn, giving up hope of succeeding in their fight to overcome the climate and the barrenness. Fearing that they will not be able to thrive on the farm they are trying to create, afraid they will have to return to civilization in shame, they drop their guard when the first snowstorm arrives, and like children, they build a snow child dressed in Mabel's mittens and gloves. They carve features colored with berries, provide branches for arms, they dance around with glee, rekindle their love for each other and renew their hope and efforts to survive.
When a strange child suddenly appears soon afterwards, wearing the mittens and gloves of the collapsed snow child, Mabel and Jack are astonished. For many years, she arrives with the first snowfall and leaves in the spring when the weather warms, witnessed by no one else, not even neighbors George and Esther, who often visit and have helped them to survive the toughest moments of their homesteading. Faina brings joy and warmth back into their lives, albeit briefly. That joy is always followed by a season of sadness when she leaves once again.
Faina, changes and influences their lives and they influence hers. She seems magical, like a spirit, and often strange events occur when she is around. Is she real or a figment of their imagination, resulting from 'cabin fever'? Will she always return?
This is a very tender magical novel about dreams and nightmares, belief and disbelief, life and death, love and loss. Love has the power to deal with all of these scenarios, or does it perhaps create them? How the issue of the snow child resolves itself, is the crux of this lovely little fairy tale. Highly recommended. ( )
2 vote rainpebble | Jan 23, 2015 |
This is a debut novel by Alaskan author Eowyn Ivey about a childless couple who are facing the harsh, dark winter of Alaska in the 1920s. The couple build a snow girl one winter night and dress her up in scarf and mittens. The next day she is gone. Later they meet up with a girl who is like a wild animal and slowly gain her trust. No one else sees the girl except the old man and woman. The woman recalls a story from her childhood of a snow maiden and asks her sister to send it to her. When she gets the book it is in Russian and she cannot read it. The Snow Maiden or Snegurochka is a relatively recent fairy tale of the nineteenth century.

What I liked about the book was the story, the picture of nature and living off the land including the animals. Surviving hardships and forming of friendships.

What I thought were weaknesses is the fairy tale. The girl was real to the man, he had reasons for his belief and she was magical to the woman who also had her reasons. The girl couldn’t tolerate warmth and would disappear in the summer months. There was a fox that was friends with the girl and when it died there was some speculation that the girl would also disappear but she didn’t. She married and had a baby and then she disappeared. I may have missed something but I did not understand why she disappeared. I expected a sad ending, I just didn’t get it the way it turned out but maybe someone else did get it and can help me understand. ( )
  Kristelh | Jan 11, 2015 |
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» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ivey, EowynAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Arlinghaus, ClaudiaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Biekmann, LidwienTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Chapman, IsabelleTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Grinde, HeidiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hansen, Marielle NielsenTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Hill, ToniTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pareschi, MonicaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Ransome, ArthurContributorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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'Wife, let us go into the yard behind and make a little snow girl; and perhaps she will come alive, and be a little daughter to us.'
'Husband' says the old woman, 'there's no knowing what may be. Let us go into the yard and make a little snow girl.'

The Little Daughter of the Snow' by Arthur Ransome
For my daughters, Grace and Aurora
First words
Mabel had known there would be silence.
Last words
Disambiguation notice
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References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English


Book description
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 Alaskan 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 are surprised to find themselves 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 fairytale 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.
L'Alaska , es forêts impénétarables , ses étendues enneigées . Son silence . Sa solitude. Depuis la mort de leur bébé , le marriage de Mabel et Jack n'a plus jamais été le même . Partir vivre sur ces terres inhospitalières paraissait alors une bonne idée . Peu de temps après , une petite fille apparaît près de leur cabane , parfois suivie d'un renard roux tout aussi farouche qu'elle . Qui est elle ? D'où vient elle ? Et si cette petite fille etait la clé de ce Bonheur qu'ils n'attendaient plus ? Inspiré d'un conte traditionnel ruse , la fille de l'hiver est à la fois un roman moderne et intemporel où le réalisme des descriptions n'enlève rien à la poésie d'une histoire merveilleuse ... dans tous les sens du terme.
Haiku summary
Set in Alaska,
A gentle tale about a
Snow child. Or is she?

No descriptions found.

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Alaska in the 1920s is a difficult place for Jack and Mabel. Drifting apart, the childless couple discover Faina, a young girl living alone in the wilderness. Soon, Jack and Mabel come to love Faina as their own. But when they learn a surprising truth about the girl, their lives change in profound ways.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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