Sunday, 26 February 2012

Book of the Week - Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child

There are several interesting first novels out at the moment. The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey has been receiving top reviews on both sides of the Atlantic. The author was named by her mother after a character in The Lord of the Rings, and was brought up in Alaska where she still lives with her husband and two daughters. They harvest salmon and wild berries, keep a vegetable garden, turkeys and chickens, and hunt caribou, moose and bear for meat. They don't have a well and live outside any public water system, so 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. At least she should be able to write with authority about snow.

The Snow Child is also the title of one of the stories in Angela Carter’s book of feminist fairy stories The Bloody Chamber, which I love (also the inspiration for one of my favourite films, The Company of Wolves). Not sure if there is any link or not......

Eowyn Ivey has been in the UK recently, so it should be possible to pick up a signed copy of the Headline edition in illustrated boards for cost price if you look around. 

"Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for a couple who have never been able to conceive. Jack and Mabel 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 catch sight of an elusive, 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 leaves blizzards in her wake. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who seems to have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in the Alaska wilderness, life and death are inextricable, and what they eventually learn about Faina changes their lives forever."

No comments: