Monday, 27 January 2014

Snow Child - Eowyn Ivey

Mable and Jack are an aging couple who need a fresh start, a complete change to everything they know. Their decision takes them to the Alaskan wilderness. Unprepared for what they will face the struggle to survive. They toil over the land, unsure if they will even have enough food to get through the harsh winter ahead. The unfriendly landscape is not their only worry. They have inner demons that threaten to tear them apart. Neither of them can move on from the loss of their stillborn child, thought it manifests differently for them. It is something that they cannot talk about but eats away at them both.

One day the snow falls and in a childlike innocence they create a child made of snow. The next day he snow child is gone, in its place is a real child that appears to them in snatched glances and footprints.

This book is a strange one and I still can’t make my mind up as to whether I like it or not. It's very well written, giving you a vivid picture of the wilderness. You can almost hear the howling wind; feel the cold creeping into your veins. The whole book is written in this style. Even when you should be celebrating with them, there is something that holds you back, knowing that the darkness is everywhere.

The child is written in a way that keeps her at a distance, having you wonder at times if she was really built from the snow. You are given proof that she is real, that she had a family yet you still think has she? Has she set up this scene just for Jack? No one else sees her; there are no footprints, no signs.

The book is character driven, the plot revolving around the development of them, and nothing else. It shows the emotional change for Jack and Mable, you can see what a difference the child makes in their lives. At times I wanted and in fact did skip read a little, not as engaged as I should be, but then it would sneak up on me and I would find tears welling in my eyes.

I think I stayed with it because of the wonderful writing and fantastic relationships between the characters though nearing the end I simply wanted it over.

1 comment:

  1. I completely agree with you on this one. Some of the writing was so beautiful and magical that I saw myself there, experiencing Alaska and its harsh weather right along with the characters. Near the end though, it became harder and harder to read. It wasn't nearly as fun or fantastical as the beginning with its mystery. The ending was quite a surprise for me, and I'm still not sure what to make of it. Overall, I did enjoy it and think others would too.