Good Minds Suggest: Eowyn Ivey's Favorite Books About Mythical AdventurePosted by Goodreads on August 1, 2016
In Eowyn Ivey's bestselling debut novel, The Snow Child, a childless couple trying to farm the bleak, brutal lands of 1920s Alaska encounter a mysterious young girl from the woods. The book, a Pulitzer Prize finalist loosely inspired by a Russian fairy tale about a girl who is half human and half snow and ice, enchanted readers with its descriptions of the frozen Alaskan landscape. In her second book, To the Bright Edge of the World, Ivey returns to the northernmost frontier to tell the story of a late 19th-century wilderness explorer, Colonel Allen Forrester, and his wife, Sophie. As Allen embarks on a perilous quest up the Wolverine River to map the vast, unknown territory and make contact with its inhabitants, Sophie, newly pregnant, must stay behind. Ivey traces both journeys as Allen tackles seemingly impossible challenges, both physical and mental, and Sophie discovers her own pioneering adventure after taking up photography. The novel is told via diary entries, photographs, newspaper clippings, drawings, and letters. Myth again plays a role—this time Native American legends—as Ivey follows her protagonists into the haunting wilds of their experiences. The author, who was raised and lives in Alaska, shares five of her favorite mythical adventures.
Gould's Book of Fishes by Richard Flanagan
"Set in a 19th-century Tasmanian penal colony, this is one of the wildest rides I've ever gone on as a reader. It's about illusion, science, art, and tyranny. It is often unclear where reality ends and fiction begins. The narrator was an actual prisoner on Sarah Island who filled a sketchbook with paintings of strange fish."
Light Boxes by Shane Jones
"A short, poetic novel about a town that is cursed with perpetual February, where the dark and cold never end. I was initially drawn to the book because February is one of the most brutal months in Alaska, but it was the beautiful language and bizarre story that kept me reading. At times nightmarish—at others, magical—it has been described as a sort of meta-fiction retelling of Persephone."
Shark Dialogues by Kiana Davenport
"A mythical Hawaiian saga. Beginning more than a century ago and moving into the modern day, the story's center is Pono, a powerful matriarch who can turn into a sea creature. Through the eyes of her four granddaughters, you witness the complex and often harrowing history of the islands."
A True Novel by Minae Mizumura
"A two-volume retelling of Wuthering Heights, set in Japan just after World War II. This is the kind of novel that makes you want to curl up in a blanket and read for a very long time. An early scene in which a young man stumbles upon a run-down cottage in the forest is one of my favorite passages of any book I've read. At times it has the feel of a gothic ghost story, and in ways it is very true to the original inspiration, but this book is entirely its own. A fascinating portrait of Japan."
All Our Pretty Songs by Sarah McCarry
"A punk rock retelling of Orpheus set in the Pacific Northwest. But that's just the beginning. This is a truly haunting novel. With a vivid and diverse cast of characters, the story offers not just an adventure into the underworld but a refreshingly honest depiction of adolescence. The first in a trilogy; I've got the next two on my TBR list."
Vote for your own favorites on Listopia: Best of Mythic Fiction