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The Girl with Glass Feet

3.41  ·  Rating details ·  6,737 ratings  ·  998 reviews
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Magical winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts who has only visited the islands once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass tra ...more
Paperback, 292 pages
Published January 1st 2010 by Atlantic Books (first published May 1st 2009)
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Kristin Georgy One of the things I didn't like about the book--too many things left without explanation.

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3.41  · 
Rating details
 ·  6,737 ratings  ·  998 reviews

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Apr 02, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Have you ever hoped for something? And held out for it against all the odds? Until everything you did was ridiculous? ”


One of the most beautiful books ever written.
The cover: beautiful
The language: beautiful
The setting: beautiful
The characters: beautiful
The story: strangely beautiful
The end...well let's not say more than that it was beautiful.

Find more of my books on Instagram
Meredith Holley
Mar 28, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Casey Shaw
Recommended to Meredith by: Kay Bailey
Shelves: reviewed
There is no particular type of person so easy to make fun of as the teen or twenty-something man who takes himself really seriously. And yet, despite Ali Shaw basically falling into that category, imao, I don’t want to make fun of this book. I knew this guy, a while back, who was an emo musician surfer, and he was also so handsome that people apparently didn’t tell him he was wrong very often. This one time, when I first met him, he told me that Bright Eyes was the new Bob Dylan. That ended up r ...more
Megan Baxter
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It has the feel of a fairy tale crossed with a hint of horror. Creepiness lurked around the edges of the story, never overt, never overdone. I suppose the best fairy tales have that as well - the original ones can have an ominous edge.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes in Goodreads policy and enforcement. You can read why I came to this decision here.

In the meantime, you can read the entire review at Smorgasbook
I have contradicting feelings about The Girl With The Glass Feet.There were times when I absolutely loved it and times that I was sure I was not gonna be able to finish it.
Let me elaborate:

The book describes how a girl named Ida, is slowly turning into glass because of white monster that she saw in a bog(?? That's all I know,believe me!)and it somehow "cursed" her.Ida, meets Midas, a very shy and introverted guy-daddy issues-who falls in love with her and tries to save her.The other characters,b
Erica (storybookend)
Dec 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fairytale lovers, especially of the original fairytales
Warning: this review is long and gushing because I love the book so

The Girl with Glass Feet is a beautiful, achingly romantic tale, full of breathless wonder and untold promises. It captured my heart, and I became a part of the story, part of the enchantment. And I loved it, oh so dearly. This book is like a fairytale, a poetically beautiful fairytale. Yet it’s more reminiscent of the original fairytales, with the flow of the writing and the very detailed descriptions. Ali Shaw, though, is moder
Jan 06, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A beautiful fairy-tale idea gets lost in a snowstorm of long scenery descriptions and underdeveloped characters.

Oh boy, this sucks. I had really hoped that this book would make it’s interesting synopsis come true, especially since I’ve read Shaw’s latest book “The Trees” last year and I loved it, but “The Girl With the Glass Feet” was simply not a good read.

Let’s start with the positive things: the intriguing story idea. The book resolves around Ida, a young women who is slowly turning into gla
Apr 16, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I’m not sure how I felt about this one, perhaps the state I’m reading in at the moment but I was struggling to remember what was happening and who was who.
Jul 11, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This book frustrated me. I wanted to like it, but the characters were just boring. I didn't care about any of them. Midas was pathetic and Ida was obnoxious. I couldn't believe the romance between these two, it felt false. Perhaps this book would have been a little better if we found out why Ida was turning into glass. What was with the winged bull moths and the animals turning white? Nothing was even remotely explained. And Midas never found out about his father! So frustrating. I also had an i ...more
4 Stars.*

“I should take a photo.”
“No. Just remember it, and us in it.”
He swallowed.
She smiled. Here was rightness of place and time.”

There isn’t much I can say about this book that other people haven’t said in the other comments here.
This book is absolutely breath taking: it’s perfectly executed, immaculately paced and I fell in love with every single character**- flaws and all.
The world that Shaw creates is so lush and full of vivid colour and texture that if someone had run into my room pro
Apr 02, 2013 marked it as ceci-n-est-ce-pas-un-compte-rendu  ·  review of another edition
Robin Romm
The hybrid form of the book—fairy tale, myth, psychological realism and fantasy—impresses. But Shaw's most delightful offerings are the vivid details he provides to make the magical real…The end of the book, saturated with color and emotion, is risky and brave like the message it imparts. Only a heart of glass would be unmoved.
—The New York Times

you rang, NY times?
Dec 18, 2009 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I want to like it. Fault - too often the characters are unrealistic. There are several moments where I didn't believe in the characters. Falling in love is a facing life action - not a facing death action. It felt like the main plot worked against itself without any of the characters acknowledging this. Also - at times I was confused by the characters. The absolute magic of the book is interesting - but there is a forced sense of poetry that conflicts with just telling me a story. The glass feet ...more
Nov 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Usually Im not into fairy tales or fantasy books. "The Girl with Glass Feet" isnt any of this, but there are phantastic elements in it and I enjoyed them very much. But mostly it is the extraordinaraly description of the two main figures that makes this book so outstanding to me. Life sureley can be horrible and using the lens of a camera to get some space between you and the world might seem a good plan, but finally it fails... ...more
Dec 28, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone! But especially lovers of magical-realism and a world almost-but-not-quite like our own.
I loved, loved, loved this book. I had been spending a lot of time in YA fantasy and figured it was about time I made my way back into the adult literary world. This seemed like the perfect book to help me find my way. I've developed quite a soft spot for magical realism, and I think that this story vindicates my favoritism from that "genre."

Ida discovers that - tendon by tendon, vein by vein - she is slowly turning to glass. It begins with a splinter-sized piece on the sole of her foot and slo
Spirited Stardust
I am rather confused as to whether I liked this book or not. I guess I should start with what I liked:

The writing was lovely, very picturesque and descriptive.
The idea of the story was interesting.

Now on to what I didn't like:

The way the story unfolded fell short for me. Not only that, I had to push myself to keep reading, as much as I wanted to find out what happened in the story, it felt like I was being 'blocked' somehow from doing it. Whilst it was nice and all to read chapters about each ch
Feb 24, 2010 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 14, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: menfolk
I did not enjoy this book.

The blurb and the cover drew me in, the promise of albino animals and glowing jellyfish and a girl slowly turning to glass. I am not a fan of romantic fiction, not in any sense at all, and so this was a novel that was never going to be for me, and did not realise how much of this was going to be based on the romances of every character introduced when I picked it up.

Overall, it feels so flat. I found myself unable to connect with any of the characters or to really care
May 22, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
An inventive and richly visual novel about young lovers on a quest to find a cure for a magical ailment, perfect for readers of Alice Hoffman
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Unusual winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts, a mainlander who has visited the islands only once before. Yet during that o

At first I was a bit skeptical. I picked it up because of its fairytalesque title but then reading the description on the inside cover I gre afraid that I had picked up some boy-meets-girl in the lonely gray landscape of some random small town island. The kind where 'their love for each other melts the winter's chill'. But I was very very happy to find that it is probably the exact opposite of that kind of book. Yes there is a man who meets a woman on some island in winter. But the boo
Mar 15, 2017 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I stalled out on this one at 215 pages and discovered that I really couldn't care less about what happened in the remaining 70 pages. I read the end and called it good. I won't exactly rush to read one of Shaw's other books either.
Joe Dempsey
When I read the synopsis of this book, I was intrigued to say the least. The idea of the central female character slowly turning to glass, and the central male being a photographer immediately seemed to imply an interesting subtext to be explored, all with an air of a classic fairytale. The book certainly exploits its 'fairytale' positioning, with elements of (seemingly) fantastical Scandinavian folklore woven through the tale. Jellyfish explode into light when they die, and creatures roam the w ...more
Mauoijenn ~ *Mouthy Jenn* ~
I found this book in the wrong section in my local library. Obviously this needs to be in the YA section. This was a lovely story and written very well. I just had a few quirks about it as I often had to go back and reread a few pages out of confusion on point of views. Other than that, a good book.
Mar 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
How someone can be verbose without saying anything takes talent.
Jun 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In Mr B's bookshop in Bath I asked for something beautiful to read.
"Beautiful to look at or beautiful to read?" I was asked.
"Both," I replied, being greedy.
This is what I was handed.
Karen morsecode
Mar 20, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I was really pleased when I was offered an advanced reader copy of Ali Shaw's debut novel. I was intrigued by the synopsis. It seemed like just the kind of book I enjoy most.

The Girl with Glass Feet is the story of Midas Crook, a young man who uses his camera to shield him from the world, and Ida Maclaird, the titular character (and if there is a single protagonist it is Midas not Ida). The novel is also very much concerned with its setting, the strange, snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda's Lan
The premise of this novel is quite arresting: after a short visit on her mother's birthplace, the Northern Archipelago of St. Hauda's Land, where strange people live and even stranger things happen, young Ida Maclaird's feet have transformed into glass and moreover, the "glass infection" in her body is slowly spreading. From a chance conversation with secluded island naturalist Henry Fuwa, she believes her strange illness is peculiar to St. Hauda's Lands so she must go back if she has any hope o ...more
An amazing idea, gorgeous prose... and a completely boring middle. This book would have fared better as a short story. There is so much to love about this book (i. e. the descriptiveness) but that is exactly what weighs this book down. I read the first couple chapters, got bored out of my mind, and skipped to the end. And the sad part is, I don't feel like I missed anything by skipping the middle. The end is where the best stuff is. All my skipping around could have been avoided by making this n ...more
Robert Lambregts
Finished. Finally. This book was a struggle, but I was determined to finish it. The story is creative in a way that it triggered me to want to read it. But after starting it, it soon became apparent that the main characters were not fully developed. It all read very flat to me and I noticed myself stopping to care about them, about what was happening to them and where it all would lead. I have read too many mediocre books lately to quite this one too, so I decided I wanted to finish. In the end, ...more
Occasionally I find that a particular book, for no obvious reason, keeps popping up everywhere - in my Amazon recommendations, in mentions on friends' blogs, in magazines' books-of-the-year lists - until I end up feeling like I almost HAVE to read it. The Girl with Glass Feet is one such book. Based on the premise (a love story, set on a somewhat fantastical fictional archipelago, about the relationship between Midas, a shy photographer, and Ida, a girl who is slowly turning into glass) I wasn't ...more
On the surface, this is the unusual story of a girl who finds herself living with a disease that is slowly turning her body to glass. But it ends up being much more. As Ida searches for a cure for her condition, the strangers she meets become a part of her story. It’s a story of broken people trying to live and love despite the scars of their pasts -- and the wounds which may be in their futures.

This book is beautifully written, in prose that shifts back and forth between fairy-tale enchantment
Karen Mace
Jun 02, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: paperbacks
If you are looking for a book to escape into then, this could be the one for you!

it really was a magical treat to read, with a beautiful writing style and such a sweet story of Ida MacLaird who is slowly turning into her glass from the feet up. She returns to the Island where she is convinced that her condition began and tries to find answers from Henry Fuwa who seems to be a very mysterious recluse.

On her journey she meets Midas Crook, who is a very shy resident with his own haunting backstory
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Ali Shaw is the author of The Trees, The Man who Rained and The Girl with Glass Feet, which won the Desmond Elliott Prize for first novels. He grew up in Dorset and studied English Literature and Creative Writing at Lancaster University. He has worked as a bookseller and at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. He lives with his wife and two-year-old daughter.
“Have you ever hoped for something? And held out for it against all the odds? Until everything you did was ridiculous? ” 252 likes
“One day, I learned that a single look can change everything. And since then I have seen it countless times. I have grappled to understand it and failed. For instance, all it took was a look from another man for my wife to fall out of love with me. It baffles me that a simple alignment of eyes can cause so much devastation.” 130 likes
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