Review – The Snow Child

Title : The Snow Child
Author : Eowyn Ivey
Publisher :  Reagan Arthur / Back Bay Book
Published : November 2012 (Paperback)
Page : 390 pages
My Rating : 5/5

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.

Thought on this book :

Ehm, truthfully, I’ve already posted this on my personal blog. But I have nothing to post here today so….

This is my review ;

For some people, a Fairy Tale is just your childhood bedtime story, which was retold all over again until you could recite it out of your head. Those magical tales that only told us about: once upon a time there was a princess. Then, there came a prince with his white horse. And they lived happily ever after. The end.

For some other people, fairy tale is a magnificent story told us about a life. It’s not only sparks fly, rainbow and butterflies, rainfalls and sunshine after the dark days. It also contains a way contemplating nature and humans together. In fact, many original fairy tales have darker story than just a happy ending. You should read Grimm Brothers’ if you don’t actually believe it.

I’m, in the latter.

For years, fairy tale has been fascinating me. Not that I believed in it, but it was more about the beauty of the prose. I always love how a fairy tale tells us a story, even if it’s a darkest one, through beautiful and delicate writing. To this day, I still prefer a calm and conservative writing to the explicit one.

The Snow Child, is a book which I picked because it happened to tell a fairy tale.

Snegurochka was not a strange tale to me although maybe many of you don’t know about this story. I knew this Russian Tale first from an Indonesian novel by Prisca Primasari titled Kastil Es dan Air Mancur yang Berdansa. But in the said novel, the magic was not fully alive.

The Snow Child, in contrast, had grown the magic inside.

Set on year 1920, in the wilderness of Alaska, The Snow Child told us a tale of Jack and Mabel who have longed for a child in their lonely marriage life. In a moment of levity during the season’s first snowfall, they built a child out of snow. The next morning, the snow child was gone. But they glimpsed a young girl running through the trees.

I read this book in an instant. Started on 8 pm and finished on 1 am. 5 hours of non-stop reading. I was so captivated by the way Ivey intertwining the brutal story into a beautifully written prose. Something about this book slowly filled me. And when I finished this book, there was an empty feeling in my heart.

Oh god, the amount of the emotions in this book was really no joke. I felt my heart aching so much but then it’s not really a bad thing. No, put that aside because for a debut, Eowyn Ivey is truly creating a bittersweet yet beautiful book.

The characters are strong. From the lonely Mabel to old withered Jack. Benson Family ; George, Esther –my favorite!- , to Garrett. And of course Faina, our little magic who born from the wild nature of Alaska.

The setting one is of the strongest point in this book. Alaska and the snow falling, a tiny homestead become a really strong combination. It adds a little sparks of magic in the story. You know, just like how Snowhite and cottage in the middle of the woods. Oh, how I love this kind of setting!

Beyond all of the things I mentioned above, Ivey’s writing style is the best thing I can find in this book. Ah, how to describe it? It made me shivered in coldness but then a warm light made me smile when I read The Snow Child. It told me about there will be always a possibility of hope comes true, even if it’s the faintest one. It painted the beauty and the dreadfulness a nature could give us. It told us a fairy tale in the most significant way.

Many people complaining about the ending of this book. Well, actually, I also felt a tingle of disappointment for the ending. But screw that. It ain’t gonna stop me to give this book 5 stars. Because this book deserves it!


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