Winner: International Author of the Year - Specsavers National Book Awards 2012
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 Alaska 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 is surprised to find they 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 fairy-tale 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.
©2012 Eowyn Ivey (P)2012 Headline Digital
"This book is real magic, shot through from cover to cover with the cold, wild beauty of the Alaskan frontier. Eowyn Ivey writes with all the captivating delicacy of the snowfalls she so beautifully describes." (Ali Shaw, author of The Girl With Glass Feet)
"If Willa Cather and Gabriel Garcia Marquez had collaborated on a book, The Snow Child would be it." (Robert Goolrick, author of A Reliable Wife)
"Eowyn Ivey's prose brings the chilly northern wilderness to life." (Bookseller)
This is a charming story with wonderful description and imagery. The narrator's soft accent really helps the story along. The emotions of Jack and Mable and the description of the landscape, the animals and the weather are enchanting. This is the perfect listen for a quiet Sunday afternoon. It is a very serene book.
I bought this because I'm a bit of a connoisseur of fairy tales and am especially interested by modern rewrites of old classics. However despite this being the Editor's pick I found it turgid. Whichever way the ending went, it was going to be predictable; the prose was cold and distant, with very little feeling evoked being reader and characters; and the novel was about twice as long as it needed to be, dragging relentlessly in places. It deserves two stars for the effort involved in using the landscape as a metaphor for the desolation of the old couple, Jack and Mable, but this was honestly a dull, dull book.
The Snow Child is the strange and magical tale of a middle-aged couple who, in 1920, leave their gentrified lives for the wilds of Alaska. Jack and Mabel, grieving for the loss of their stillborn child, settle along the shores of the Wolverine River. They are neither practical, nor young, nor strong and they struggle. In a rare moment of levity, Mabel and Jack build a snow child in their yard, adorned with a red hat and mittens. In the morning the hat and the mittens and, indeed, the snow child, have disappeared. A short while later, Mabel sees a girl alone in the snow, with bright blue eyes and white-blonde hair.
‘What happened in that cold dark, when frost formed a halo in the child’s straw hair and snowflake turned to flesh and bone?’
The Snow Child is inspired by Arthur Ransome’s fairy tale, The Little Daughter of the Snow. The book is stunningly beautifully written. It is, perhaps, no surprise how the story ends, yet the how, the when and the why are wonderfully realised. This is a evocative modern version of a fairy story, it is the tale of how a married couple truly begin to understand and heal one another, and the love and loss that ensues when one attempts to tame a wild creature and conquer a wilderness.
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, it evoked the wild spirit of Alaska and the desperate sadness of a childless couple longing for someone to nurture and love. I wasn't too keen on the narration at first, but I settled into it after the first few chapters. Highly recommended.
l just loved this book, full of atmosphere so that you see the landscape and feel the intense cold. The story unfolds slowly, beginning in a mood of the deep sadness of a woman trying to come to terms with her new life in a hostile, alien land and her longing for a child to which she would never give birth.
The story progresses through many triumphs and disasters until Mabel, the central character who had known so much sadness, finds a rekindled joy in her marriage and the answer to her prayers from a very unexpected source.
Loved it. So evocative and emotional. In parts the world of the couple, especially Mabel, is so sad and almost claustrophobic. Takes you on a journey.
A memorable listen
I loved the idea that a fairytale character could come to life and live in the world. It reminded me of other books which challenge your view of the possible. It is lovely to dream.
I loved her soft lilting voice. She has a quality in her voice that is old fashioned and straight laced. Very appropriate for the character of Mabel the principle character and narrator of the story.
I found the whole thing moving and poigniont.
You will love this book if like me you enjoy fast paced books some of the time and slow paced books from time to time. This is the latter, languid and reminiscent of the desolate landscape it conjours up so well.
Living in rural tranquility in France. I read everything except readers' l o n g reviews of books.
Difficult to classify and an interesting original tale set in the wilderness of Alaska Good characterization and a bit of mystery Well worth a listen
While a simple read this book has wonderful depths and leaves you thinking long after you finish it. Unforgetable.
The dance between reality and fantasy, it was masterfully written.
Mabel, a woman with inner beauty and torment much like the landscape she is trying to adapt to.
A journey of discovery and love.
Quite a slow book and at times seem longer than it needs to be but you will find yourself immersed in the story. Well worth listening and one of those rare stories that will stay with you forever. The raw setting is beautifully and poetically presented to the reader and you find yourself rising and falling with the tempo of emotions from dark and depressed to hopeful and elated. Some things are never revealed but you find yourself accepting that.
Ethereal, haunting, memorable
The snow child herself because she was such a mystery.
She brought a true voice to the characters.
Esther, because she is a hoot!
This was my first audibook and it was truly special. I was very lucky to choose this one as my first.
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