Sunday, 28 February 2016

Books: The Snow Child

I found The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey in one of the charity shops along my road, in the cheap student/Polish area of Southampton. The cover just beckoned me, with its snowy fairytale silhouettes on a dark blue background.

The Snow Child book, showing white silhouettes of a girl and a fox on a dark blue background.

The story follows an old childless couple, Mabel and Jack, who have moved to the wild frontier of Alaska to make a new life together. They've both become disillusioned with life, barely speak to one another, and are both desperately lonely. My heart cried out to Mabel in particular, who yearns for something to love with every fibre of her being. In a rare moment one night, Mabel throws a snowball at Jack. After a joyful and breathless snowball fight, they sculpt a child out of the snow. Jack carves a delicate face and squeezes berry juice onto her lips, and Mabel wraps her up in a scarf and mittens. After this they go to bed together for the first time in years. The next morning, the snow girl has, of course, vanished, and they see a mysterious little girl running through the woods alone.

I won't give anything else away. It's a story of love and loss, with some unexpected twists and turns. Ultimately it's about finding love in unexpected places. One of the best things about it is that the explanation for all of it doesn't have to be supernatural, and we never really find out.

The Snow Child is a beautiful book that I could have read in one sitting. It took me back to that childhood feeling of getting completely lost in another world. I felt like I could reach out and touch the cold pine needles, and feel the compressing snow beneath my feet.

Then I remember that, despite how romantic it all sounds, I'd much rather be warm. 

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