The Snow Child: A Novel

January 9, 2020 - Comment

In this magical debut — a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize — a couple’s lives are changed forever by the arrival of a little girl, wild and secretive, on their snowy doorstep. Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under

In this magical debut — a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize — a couple’s lives are changed forever by the arrival of a little girl, wild and secretive, on their snowy doorstep.

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart–he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone–but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.

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Comments

Anonymous says:

A fine, shining story to savor The Snow Child is one of the most magical novels I have read during my long life. Ivey’s characterization, story telling and scenic prowess are all delivered in words that sometimes whisper, often sing, occasionally growl and frequently entrance. There is simplicity, elegance, depth and meaning reaching mythic realms, and yet the story is firmly grounded in the realities of Alaskan homesteading and relationships that struggle, bend, grow and endure. One could love the book just for Ivey’s…

Anonymous says:

Enchanting storyline I usually read mystery novels. I had found this book while searching for a novel to read to a woman who has end stage dementia. As I read the book to her I was engrossed by the storyline. I found myself relating to the story. The book is based in Alaska, I live in Vermont, the couple are in their fifties, as am I and my husband. The couple are now alone, isolated and facing old age and tackling the harshness of their environment and homestead. However, that’ where the sameness ends. The…

Anonymous says:

Real and Surreal The Snow Child is based on a folk/fairy tale of an older couple, who never had children, when a snow sculpture turns into a a young girl. The novel, set in Alaska in more modern times follows the folk tale with the exception on the couple not actually seeing the transformation of the showgirl into the child, leaving room for speculation about the reality of the child and/or the sanity of the couple. It is a compelling and well-written story with a limited number of characters, all presented…

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