Monday, December 23, 2013

Book Review: Snow Child

Snow Child
By Eowyn Ivey

Snow Child is the book debut of Eowny Ivey. She was inspired to write Snow Child because of the Russian Fable, The Snow Maiden.

In 1920 Alaska, a elderly, childless couple, Mabel and Jack are homesteaders. They moved from the United States to escape the reminders of what they left behind.  They were unable to conceive a child.

When we first meet them, they both seem lonely, and isolated, just like the landscape of Alaska. It is beautiful, but then it is desolate and primitive.

One day, Mabel and Jack build a " Snowchild", out of snow. But the next morning Jack finds the"Snowchild" is gone. Where did she go?   Where are the mittens, and the scarf and hat that they left on the Snow Child. The Snow Child eventually appears, and then disappears after Spring comes. Then returns in the winter.  No one can see the child except for Mabel and Jack.

The Snow Child was slow moving.  What made the story was the characters the author created. The characters grow on us. We actually embrace them and care about them.   Her sentence structure, beautiful prose made the story flow.  I appreciated what the author had written after I finished the novel.  There are many themes, and lots to discuss. There were parts of the story that I felt were a bit far fetched, and unrealistic.

 I have not read a novel that takes place in Alaska before. This book describes the landscape of Alaska's beauty. One of our members had been in Alaska. Thinking about it now, it would have been wonderful if she talked about her experiences there. If you love magical realism, than you will love the story.

 Our book club read and discussed Snow Child. I did not expect a discussion, "Was she real or not?
I did not at  all expect this kind of reaction.

At the end of our discussion we discussed and compared Snow Child with The Golem and the Jinni. Another novel we have read for our Jewish Grand Strand Reads.Because Golem and the Jinni has a pair of fantastical figures. Why were we able to accept them but not Snow Child which was similar. We came up with because it was New York and we could relate to the background. With Snow Child we don't know Alaska or the story and couldn't relate to it as well.

I think there was mixed reviews from each of us. Some of us liked the book, some did not.


Melissa Mc said...

We are reading this for our January book club...I haven't started it yet. We shall see.

Susan Curtis said...

Melissa, it is worth the read, I hope you enjoy it. With me, I did not appreciate the story until the very end, and lots of discussion can be had with the novel. Let me know what you and your book club think?