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The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
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The Snow Child (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Eowyn Ivey

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1,7151544,141 (4)212
Member:madeleinescott
Title:The Snow Child
Authors:Eowyn Ivey
Info:Headline Review (2012), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:***1/2
Tags:Read January 2013

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. 01
    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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» See also 212 mentions

English (150)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (154)
Showing 1-5 of 150 (next | show all)
Loaned from Karen. Loved first chapters re Alaska and finding Faina. Story became sluggish and tiresome in middle.
  JodyLazar | Dec 25, 2014 |
This is not a book I would have read had it not been my Book Club selection. This is really not my kind of story and I have to say that I loved the book. The characters are well developed and I felt I knew them, except for Faina. I was never sure enough that she was real, to invest myself in her. I felt the author really stayed true to the time period. A good read! ( )
  elsyd | Dec 7, 2014 |
1920 Alaska, Jack and Mabel are struggling on their homstead. What would make them complete is a child but it is not to be. Snow falls so they make a snow child and then everything changes.

I have mixed feelings about this book. The story is based on a Russian fairytale about a couple who build a snow child who comes too life. On a positive this book was very enchanting and easy to read. With the arrival of Fania, Jack and Mabel are given hope and a lot of pleasure comes into their lives.

On a negative I am confused with Fania. I am not sure if she is real or not. To the character's she was real to a certain extent. The book being fantasy and a fairytale Fania could well have been real for a time.

The book was easy to read and intersting at times, and tbere was enough to hold my interest. At other times I found the story dragging and I wanted it to pick up agian so I could see what was going to happen next.

A different type of read for me and had it not been for book group I probably wouldn't have picked it up. I quite enjoyed it but I am a little confused. ( )
  tina1969 | Dec 7, 2014 |
I loved everything about this book. The rich detailed description of Alaska was amazing and almost (ALMOST, before I regained my senses) made me want to move there and homestead in the wilderness. I fell in love with the characters and felt their sadness, pain, loss and joy. This was just an all around beautifully written story. ( )
  reigningstars | Dec 4, 2014 |
Title - The Snow Child

Author - Eowyn Ivey

Summary -

It is Alaska in the 1920s, a difficult place to build a life and newcomers Jack and Mabel are ill prepared for the harsh reality of the life they have chosen. But the difficult and brutal environment is taking is toll on them as well as the pain they refuse to face. Childless, they are tearing apart in their loneliness and despair.

"...There had been the one. A tiny thing, born still and silent. Ten years past, but even now she found herself returning to the birth to touch Jack's arm. stop him, reach out. She should have. She should have cupped the baby's head in the palm of her hand and snipped a few of its tiny hairs to keep in a locket at her throat..."

In a brief moment of levity, during the first snow of the season, they build a child out of snow. The next morning they see in the woods, a young blonde haired girl running in the trees. Wearing the mittens and scarf they had placed on the child made of snow. Afraid to admit to one another what they thought they had seen, Jack and Mabel searched for tracks that could lead to the child.

"...When she neared the edge of the woods and peered through the snowy boughs, she was startled to see the child only a hundred yards or so away. The girl was crouched, her back to Mabel, white-blond hair fanned down her blue wool coat. Wondering if she should call out, Mabel cleared her throat, and the sound startled the child. The girl stood, snatched a small sack from the snow, and spirited away. As she disappeared around one of the largest spruce trees, she looked back over her shoulder and Mabel saw her glancing blue eyes and small, impish face. She was no more than eight or nine years old..."

In time the child comes to trust Jack and Mabel. She calls herself Faina and she is a child of the woods. Living and hunting in the wild and more at home there than with people. Jack and Mabel come to think of her as their child and care for her as much as she will let them. But the little girl survives well in the wild of the Alaskan wilderness and much to their heartbreak, disappears with the coming spring.

But just as magically, Faina returns with the first snowfall of the coming winter. Jack and Mabel come to accept this strange twist and make a family with Faina. But in the Alaskan wilderness all is not as it seems and in the brutality of surviving in the wild, there is a cost to caring.

Review -

I am always concerned when picking up a book that has been so highly praised by others. "Bewitching" "Captivating" "Spellbinding" are just some of the superlatives piled upon The Snow Child. It is all that and more.

Eowyn Ivey has taken the Russian folktale The Snow Maiden and given it a frontier twist. She has not relied on the magic in the story to lead it but the characters. The human characters. The pain and emptiness of Jack and Mabel who isolated from family and most friends on their homestead have isolated themselves from one another. The pain and trauma of their lost child haunts them and in their grief they have built walls between each other. Going through their daily routine, failing everything and each other. But unable to express it. Not their pain, not their fears and most of all, not their love.

Into this comes Faina, at first mute and dangerous, but obviously with purpose. She brings them the hope they had abandoned and in their desire to protect her, come to protect each other and in that, find what they had lost.

There are many twists and turns and you know, as this is a fairy tale of the old order, it cannot have the happy ending you long for. But it will give you an ending that rings true and satisfying. Do not skip to the end to see what happens. This is one you will want to read through and savor.

One of the better books of the year. ( )
  agarcia85257 | Nov 12, 2014 |
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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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Epigraph
'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
Dedication
For my daughters, Grace and Aurora
First words
Mabel had known there would be silence.
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Disambiguation notice
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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?
(passion4reading)

No descriptions found.

(see all 3 descriptions)

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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