Thursday 14 March 2013

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

This was one of  book group choices for February, which is quite fitting given that we had freezing temperatures and a wee bit of snow during the month.  I picked both the books for February so I might be biased here but live with it.

I really enjoyed the language of the book.  Ivey used everyone of the sensory perceptions available to bring that harsh landscape to life.  I could hear the snow crunching under my feet as I traipsed through the forest.  I could feel the snow on my face as the brutal winter broke.  I could smell the decay of autumn leaves as summer came to a staggering halt. I could touch the feathers and the rough clothing.  I could taste the monotony of the first sparse winter meals.

I got lost in the beauty of the challenges faced.  But then I got lost in the story. 

I loved the characters of Jack and Mabel.  I even loved their names.  I thought the speed of the plotting was very well done despite the descriptive language.  I couldn't stop reading.

And then it all ended.  And that's where the troubles began.  We had a lengthy debate at book group about whether the entire book is a fairy tale or is Faina a real girl.  If she is real, how does she survive all alone.  If she isn't real, how does she get married?

Seldom does a child bring a couple together, usually because the first years of a child's life are difficult on a marriage   But if that child came to a marriage at a later age, could she really bring them closer together?  Or would that have happened anyway out of necessity in the harsh reality of the Alaskan wilderness?

I like the book if I imagine it as a fairy tale.  I like it a lot less if it is not meant to be a fairy tale.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars but with a strong recommendation for book groups.  There is a lot to discuss. 

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