SOURCE: A Readers Group read.
Jack and Mabel have staked everything on making a fresh start for themselves in a homestead 'at the world's edge' in the raw Alaskan wilderness. But as the days grow shorter, Jack is losing his battle to clear the land, and Mabel can no longer contain her grief for the baby she lost many years before.
The evening the first snow falls, their mood unaccountably changes. In a moment of tenderness, the two are surprised to find themselves building a snowman - or rather a snow girl - together. The next morning, all trace of her has disappeared, and Jack can't quite shake the notion that he glimpsed a small figure - a child? - running through the spruce trees in the dawn light. And how to explain the little but very human tracks Mabel finds at the edge of their property?
...... Inner front cover
FIRST SENTENCE (Part 1: Chapter 1: Wolverine River, Alaska, 1920):
Mabel had known there would be silence.
MEMORABLE MOMENT (Page 160): The snowflake was no bigger than the smallest skirt button. It was six pointed with fernlike tips and a hexagonal heart, and it sat in the child's palm like a tiny feather when it should have melted.
MY THOUGHTS: Inspired by an old Russian folk tale, The Snow Child is set in 1920's Alaska where, grieving the loss of their only child, Mabel and Jack seek solace in a landscape of frozen loveliness.
Essentially the tale of the price people will pay in order to fulfil their hearts desires this is a truly enchanting tale. Vivid, powerful and as heartbreaking as it is life affirming. My heart went out to the childless couple and even more so to Faina, the Snow Child of the title, who, as beautiful as she is mysterious, it wasn't until finishing the book I realised we never actually got to truly know.
Though very much a character led novel the author far from skimps on details of life on a remote homestead in a land that is as harsh as it is bounteous. A totally spellbinding read, beautifully written and very atmospheric, this is a debut novel with all the attributes of a classic.
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