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The snow child : a novel by Eowyn Ivey

The snow child : a novel (original 2012; edition 2012)

by Eowyn Ivey

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1,6881514,233 (4)210
Title:The snow child : a novel
Authors:Eowyn Ivey
Info:New York : Little, Brown and Co., 2012.
Collections:Your library

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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English (147)  Norwegian (1)  Danish (1)  Chinese, traditional (1)  Dutch (1)  All languages (151)
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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 |
The Snow Child is an enjoyable fairy tale. Although not a dramatic literary piece it is a sweet story. Recommend if you are looking for a light read. ( )
  elizabeth.b.bevins | Nov 4, 2014 |
Let's count the reasons to read this book. The premise: A childless couple find a child in the Alaskan wilderness--maybe. The plot: I never knew exactly where the story was going, yet everywhere it went made sense. The writing and the voice: Poetic without approaching arch, Ivey writes like a dream, which is apt given the magical realism sprinkled in these pages. The scene-setting: The descriptions of the wilderness made me want to lace up my mukluks (do muckluks have laces?) and trudge off the grid into the Alaskan wild. Seriously beautiful writing. I hope Ivey isn't too busy carving out her existence in the forest to make time to write, because I'm more than ready for her next effort. ( )
  SonjaYoerg | Oct 1, 2014 |
I had a hard time deciding between a 3 and a 4 star rating. When I first started this book, I found that a lot of times I wasn't very interested in picking it up again. It's not that I hated it-I actually thought it was very good-but it was also quite a slow read with the fairy-tale elements being very subtle. In part two, the fantasy bits were almost non-existent, at least it seemed that way to me.

What made me decide to give it four stars was how beautifully it was written and how much I loved the setting. I love reading about those out-in-the-middle-of-nowhere, snowy settings and I think Ivey gave one of the best portrayals of it. ( )
  Kayla-Marie | Sep 27, 2014 |
Magical realism is hard to get right. It's hard to find the right balance between wonder and acceptance in the characters, and hard to get the reader to suspend just the right amount of disbelief. Unfortunately, I think The Snow Child doesn't get this right.

The Snow Child is about an older, childless couple who move to Alaska to escape the reminders of the loss of their first child. They make a snowman one night, and the next morning it is melted and there is a mysterious girl in the forest around their house. This mirrors a Russian fairy tale - a story the couple knows - about a person made of snow who comes to life.

I have a lot of little quibbles with this book (especially with the portrayal of pioneer life), but my biggest problem with it is that the magic just wasn't convincing... or the lack of magic wasn't convincing, depending on how you look at it. The characters responded with either too much or not enough acceptance of the strange events in their lives, and the whole story felt really contrived to me. Once you know that the story is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale, there's really nothing else to it.

I listened to the audiobook, and the narrator was quite good. ( )
  Gwendydd | Sep 23, 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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Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
'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
Publisher's editors
Publisher series
Original language

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.

(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)

» see all 7 descriptions

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