(Find this book in our catalog)
Jack & Mabel, childless & approaching middle-age are homesteading in the Alaskan wilderness of the 1920s when they meet a mysterious child called Faina. The story, based on an old Russian folktale, begins when the couple builds a snow child, complete with scarf & mittens. The next day the items are gone but later the couple sees a young girl out in the woods wearing them. Over the course of time Jack & Mabel begin to befriend the child who appears with the first snowfall & disappears with the spring. This haunting novel keeps you wondering to the end, is the child Faina real or some embodiment of the wilderness. Ivey’s descriptions of the harsh but beautiful land, of the hard work of the farmers & the struggle to survive, combined with the need for friendships & support are utterly realistic. This is a beautiful book, with hope & love tinged with sadness & loss.
Barbara Hoffert at Library Journal said this was “A fluid, absorbing, beautifully executed debut novel; highly recommended.”
Kirkus Reviews said “The mystery of Faina’s provenance, along with the way she brightens the couple’s lives, gives the novel’s early chapters a slightly magical-realist cast. Yet as Faina’s identity grows clearer, the narrative also becomes a more earthbound portrait of the Alaskan wilderness and a study of the hard work involved in building a family. The book’s tone throughout has a lovely push and pull—Alaska’s punishing landscape and rough-hewn residents pitted against Faina’s charmed appearances—and the ending is both surprising and earned.”
Read Little Daughter of the Snow by Arthur Ransome, a children’s picture book version of this folktale.
In december 2012 Ms. Ivey won the UK National Book Award for International Author of the Year for this debut novel.
Eowyn (A-o-win) LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. The Snow Child is informed by Eowyn’s life in Alaska. Her husband is a fishery biologist with the state of Alaska. While they both work outside of the home, they are also raising their daughters in the rural, largely subsistence lifestyle in which they were both raised.
As a family, they harvest salmon and wild berries, keep a vegetable garden, turkeys and chickens, and they hunt caribou, moose, and bear for meat. Because they don’t have a well and live outside any public water system, they haul water each week for their holding tank and gather rainwater for their animals and garden. Their primary source of home heat is a woodstove, and they harvest and cut their own wood. These activities are important to Eowyn’s day-to-day life as well as the rhythm of her year. (From the author’s website.) http://eowynivey.com/ Read more about Eowyn on her website.
Posted by Julia