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The Snow Child: A Novel (Pulitzer Prize in Letters: Fiction Finalists) Hardcover – February 1, 2012
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"THE SNOW CHILD is enchanting from beginning to end. Ivey breathes life into an old tale and makes it as fresh as the season' s first snow. Simply lovely."―Keith Donohue, New York Times bestselling author of The Stolen Child
"A transporting tale . . . an amazing achievement."―Sena Jeter Naslund, New York Times bestselling author of Ahab's Wife
"THE SNOW CHILD is a vivid story of isolation and hope on the Alaska frontier, a narrative of struggle with the elements and the elemental conflict between one's inner demons and dreams, and the miracle of human connection and community in a spectacular, dangerous world. You will not soon forget this story of learning to accept the gifts that fate and love can bring." ―Robert Morgan, author of Gap Creek
"Eowyn Ivey's exquisite debut transports the reader away to a world almost out of time, into a fairytale destined to both chill and delight. Her portrayal of an untamed Alaska is so detailed you can feel the snowflakes on your own eyelashes, even as her characters' desperate quest for, and ultimate redemption by, love will warm your heart."―Melanie Benjamin, author of Alice I Have Been
"Magical, yes, but THE SNOW CHILD is also satisfyingly realistic in its depiction of 1920s homestead-era Alaska and the people who settled there, including an older couple bound together by resilient love. Eowyn Ivey's poignant debut novel grabbed me from the very first pages and made me wish we had more genre-defying Alaska novels like this one. Inspired by a fairy tale, it nonetheless contains more depth and truth than so many books set in this land of extremes."―Andromeda Romano-Lax, author of The Spanish Bow
"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
Top Customer Reviews
Mabel and Jack are homesteaders who come to Alaska rather late in their lives. They are both close to fifty years old when they begin their Alaskan venture near the Wolverine river way in the backcountry. The story opens with Mabel contemplating suicide. She describes Alaska after her failed suicide attempt as a place of "beauty that ripped you open and scoured you clean so that you were left helpless and exposed, if you lived at all". She and Jack are growing apart rather than closer and she misses him desperately. Slowly, they become friends with their closest neighbors, Esther and George, and this helps Mabel some. However, she says of Jack, "they were going to be partners, she and Jack. This was going to be their new life together. Now he sat laughing with strangers when he hadn't smiled at her in years".
Mabel comes from an intellectual family - her father is a professor of literature at the University of Pennsylvania. She feels lonely and empty in her cabin. Just before they came to Alaska she gave birth to a stillborn boy. This was one of the primary reasons she wanted to get away from her family. She felt they were always looking at her and judging her as wanting, talking about her as not being a strong woman. Jack is busy with clearing and farming the homestead and he won't let Mabel help with this.Read more ›
Mabel sees Alaska as a way to escape from all of the pity she sees in the eyes of family and friends. She just wants life to be her and Jack. Jack knows they can't make it in such a harsh land alone. He is too old to be breaking the land. He needs help. Mabel feels at fault for her inability to give him children but Jack does not blame her...
Just at the right time a boisterous family comes into their life to help them manage their homestead. A family with three strong children. A woman who starts to bring Mabel out of her shell. Also at this time their appears a mystical child. A child that appears the day after Jack and Mabel make a small snowgirl. Is she real or is she a manifestation of all of Mabel's hopes and dreams?
I cannot tell you the joy I found in this book. Despite the overall sadness of the main theme there was much to celebrate within. Faina, the snow child was a delight! In writing her dialog no quotation marks are used so you "hear" it in your head and wonder if she is real or not. She came to me as a whisper on a breeze. I felt as if I had been dropped into a snowglobe and was living in some kind of mystical snow world. The writing almost surrounded me and then fell like the little pieces of snow.Read more ›
In the 1920's Mabel and Jack settle along the Wolverine River in Alaska. They hope the challenge of homesteading in the wild will wipe away years of grief and give them a fresh start. Instead, they find that work and isolation rule. The hardship of everyday life cuts away at their spirits. Cash is scarce. Hope dimmed. As the cold bites, each tries to survive in their own way.
After a fresh snowfall, they build a snow child in a moment of much-needed frivolity. When they awaken the next morning the snow child is demolished and the hand-knit mittens and scarf they draped on it are gone.
Jack sees a small girl running in the snow. When Mabel glimpses the blond girl, it unifies them. Jack hunts for a moose to keep them from starving in the winter. When he is ready to give up, the magical little girl appears and leads him to a moose. Food for winter is secured.
The little snow girl, Faina has frosty lashes, a cool blue stare, and is always accompanied by a red wolf. She seems otherworldly and Mabel and Jack find her appearances and disappearances disconcerting. They continue to try to maintain contact with her, but she remains elusive. Faina dictates the terms upon which the relationship grows. She brings to them physical gifts, but most importantly she offers hope and love.
The writing in this enchanting book is beautiful. Its direct simplicity reflects the austerity of the Alaskan atmosphere. The wilderness itself is an important character. Jack reflects on the land flowing with milk and honey that was to give up moose, caribou and bears. "What a different truth he found. Alaska gave up nothing easily.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
As someone who loves Alaska and old fairy tales, I loved the story. As someone who has struggled with infertility I empathized with Mabel and Jack. Read morePublished 12 hours ago by BB0516
A fairytale in a frozen wonderland. Wonderful characters keep you turning pages with two love stories over two generations in the wilderness of Alaska in the early part of the... Read morePublished 1 day ago by OAH
I really enjoyed this book. I have never read anything quite like it a beautiful bookPublished 2 days ago by Anne
The snow child is an amazing book of unconditional love. Heartwarming and touching. Shows how true love lives on in each breathPublished 2 days ago by twells68
She was magical and mythical. Even though she longed for the snow and cold, she traded it for love and warmth. Heartwarming and beautifully written!Published 2 days ago by Phyllis Wright
the best book i have read in a long time. never dull very exciting. very well thought out and written.Published 3 days ago by Deb
The book made me laugh and other times cry. I so enjoyed the book.Published 4 days ago by Virginia 50
I love this book. It held my interest throughout every chapter. It is a sort of fairy tale. I would like to read more from this author,Published 5 days ago by Joannie Layne