Rated of 5
How is it that someone who struggles with fantasy and more so with sci-fi can embrace fairy-tales so willingly? There may be a fine line between the two but the best way I have seen the differences described is that fairy-tales are handed down stories, folklore, and that fantasy is the product of one person's imagination.
Regardless of where you put The Snow Child in genre, it is magical. It's a hard book to talk about without spoiling the whole for the next reader. The author, Eowyn Ivy, states that it is based on a Russian tale, Snegurochka, or The Snow Maiden, about an older couple unable to have children of their own and are saddened by this. One day they build a snow child, a little girl who comes to life. And there you have the premise of The Snow Child which takes place in 1920's wilderness Alaska. The childless couple, Mabel and Jack, find themselves in Alaska when the happiness of family and laughter of children, which Mabel describes as noise, becomes to much for her. You might describe this as running away. Mabel soon finds out that the harsh realities of life in Alaska may be worse then what she has left behind in Pennsylvania. Farming the land is hard, supplies are hard to get, they know little of how to exist in this foreign place yet there is a determination to do so. Add to this the long light of short summers and the dreary darkness, cold and snow of long winters and you can feel their despair. At the first snow, Mabel surprises Jack with lost playfulness when she starts a snow ball fight. This scene turns out to be one of the best in the book for me.
The rest of the fairy-tale is there but best to read for yourself. I've never liked the cold or tons of snow but through Ivey's eyes, she has challenged me to see what she loves about her life and home in Alaska.
A fairy-tale for adults, The Snow Child is subtle, thought-provoking and delightful storytelling.