The Snow Child

Eowyn Ivey
The Snow Child Cover

The Snow Child

Ann Walker

You might think that Eowyn Ivey's The Snow Child would be a poor choice for Snowzilla Weekend, but the excerpt that a friend posted earlier this week was enchanting, and I knew I would have many hours of reading time, and so.

The Snow Child is a retelling of a Russian fairy tale, additionally inspired by the history of the Matanuska Colony in Alaska. Jack and Mabel move to Alaska following the death of their child to take up farming, although neither of them have any previous experience. Their difficulties are as you can imagine: climate, isolation, physical danger, and depression. But there a moments of unexpected beauty and joy as well, cold clear nights when the Northern Lights dance above the snowy landscape, and on once such night, the two of them impulsively build a snow child, dressing it in colorful clothing and sculpting a lovely face. The next morning, the Snow Child is gone, but there are tiny footprints leading off into the woods, where a red fox is watching.

I don't want to spoil this beautiful and lyrical story. The writing is spellbinding -- it wouldn't take 28 inches of snow outside your house to make you feel as though you are there with Mabel and Jack. The scent of fir trees and wildflowers, the delicious crispness of the cold air, the unexpected and majestic interaction with wildlife, all beautifully and vividly conveyed.