Nathan's Reviews > The Snow Child

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
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's review
Dec 10, 11

bookshelves: read-in-2011, favorites, arc, uk-edition
Read from July 30 to 31, 2011

It's truly gratifying to come across a book that evokes the senses to such a degree that its flavor is brought to the palate. Such is the case with Eowyn Ivey's debut novel, The Snow Child. Infused with aspects of pine boughs, mountain herbs, woolen mittens and inspired by happenstance, it breathes new life into an old Russian children's tale Ivey stumbled upon in her bookstore.

We come to know of aging Jack and Mabel through their childless sorrows, playful intense love and survivalist fortitude all cruxing on a belief in dreams and a touch of magic. Through imagery spun with such crispness as to leave a skiff of snow on your heart and the bite of cold wilderness air in your lungs, it's nearly impossible not to fall deeply into the story of Faina and her enchanted sudden appearance. And I must say, the skill with which Ivey works your emotions--ebbing and flowing like tides with each of Faina's heartbreaking disappearances--belies the fact this is her first book. Devastation and light, fear and hope, all there. At the end, I found myself believing Jack, Mabel, Faina and the cast of supportive neighbors--pragmatic George, boisterous Esther and their helpful wide-eyed son Garrett--really existed somewhere, somehow. (surely these must be real Alaskan folk...)

I can only leave you with this: when you bring this book into your world, carve out time to give it your full attention. Then make a space for it on your shelf of favorites, it belongs there.
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Reading Progress

07/30/2011 page 185
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Comments (showing 1-10 of 10) (10 new)

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message 1: by stars (new) - added it

stars I like your review, but you should know you put The Show Child instead of the SNOW Child. :P

Nathan Angela wrote: "I like your review, but you should know you put The Show Child instead of the SNOW Child. :P" OMG thanks for pointing that out! Fixing now ;)

message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Nathan, Did you ever wonder why none of the dialogue between Faina and Jack and Mabel was in parentheses? Did Ivey want us to feel those were going on inside the characters' heads? Just wondering.

Nathan I think that was Eowyn's way of imparting the magical element that was Faina. Dialogue shown in different way kind of shows she was a different kind of creature. I also felt it meant her speech was quieter and subdued.

Did you like the book otherwise?

message 5: by [deleted user] (new)

Most definitely. I plan on buying it for my library. I had to stop reading it in several places to compose myself either from tears of joy or sadness. Profoundly moved me at the end. I appreciate your reply. I think you are right about the deliberate absence of speech marks. Thank you.

Nathan Oh glad to hear it! This was probably my favorite read last year!

Licha Funny you mention that you think Faina's speech was quieter and subdued. That is the exact sense I got. It was like a soft whisper that only Mabel and Jack were able to perceive. The lack of quotes I took to be more for the reader's benefit, so that the individual reader could decide whether they wanted to believe Faina was real or imaginary.

Kumail Haider Very emotional... its certainly a masterpiece. good review sir.

Nathan Kumail wrote: "Very emotional... its certainly a masterpiece. good review sir."

Thank you!

Jason Can you suggest any similarities between this author and any others, simply so we can get an orientation around a new author

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