Who hasn’t heard about the fairy tale telling about an old childless couple, who makes a snow girl out of snow and she comes alive, and the couple gets affectionate to her as to their own daughter. Actually the Russian tale about Snegurocka is not the only one such tale. Let’s remember Thumbeline, Rapunzel, Tom Thumb to name only some (OK, they weren’t made of snow, but anyway). Therefore when I had to read “Snow Child” by Eowyn Ivey and got to know that this is a story about a childless couple who make their child of snow, I didn’t know what to expect. A Fairy tale? About Alaska, which after Jack London’s stories seemed wild, cold, uninviting, and I have to say not interesting for me? A realistic story of some kind? Then I started to read, and, oh boy, the story carried me away after the very moment when Mabel and Jack made their little snow girl and afterwards started to see her in their vicinity and nobody believed them. The story continues like this, full of mystery, harsh reality and unexpected twists. And nature! I have always been bored by descriptions of nature, but here it is exposed so vividly that you see it in front of your eyes. It is not just described, it is lived through and makes you want to see the beauty of Alaska yourself. It made me to search through internet in order to get to know more about the author: who is she, where is she from, where does she live. Yes, all right, she is from Alaska and still lives here with her family. Of course, how could I doubt here being an insider; you cannot do even the most thorough research to write like this. But one thing surprised me the most – her young age. And then notwithstanding with this, her writing, style, language, her contemplation about life, it’s meaning etc. is so mature, not characteristic to young people. OK, also being in your 20ties, 30ties you can experience a lot, but it is a rare case that you can live through feelings of those in 50ties and beyond.
Also her language is very beautiful, she is well-spoken and never describes her characters as what they wear, how they look etc. a writing technique most commonly used by female authors, that drives me crazy sometimes. Characters just come to life through what they think, how they speak, how they behave. And till the very end of the novel you don’t get the answer about who actually is Faina – a real girl, a fairy, some spirit of the nature? This twist of fairy tale with wild and difficult real life, the dreamlike character of the story makes me think about Gabriel Garcia Marques and his magic realism. Yes, that is it, the magic realism of Alaska! Read the author’s debut novel if you want a really good read. And… who knows what else is in her pocket!
And here are some amazing snowflakes to brush up the story 🙂 Go and get them, if you can!