Friday, March 01, 2013

The Snow Child (Friday Fiction)

I loved, loved, loved this book.  Think fairytale for grown-ups; magical, enthralling, captivating.  Like any good fairytale though, it has a dark side...

Based on a Russian fairytale, The Snow Child tells the story of Jack and Mable, a childless couple living in a homestead in the brutal wilds of Alaska.  Jack is slowly losing his battle with clearing the land and Mable is unable to move on from losing her only baby many years earlier.  We first meet Mable as she contemplates suicide by drowning herself in the nearby frozen river; The silence between the couple deepens and it seems their marriage and way of life is under threat, until one moonlit night when the snow falls and they re-discover their tenderness for each other.  In the throes of these feelings they build themselves a small snow-child, even thinking to give her gloves and hat.  In the morning their snow child has gone, a small set of footprints lead away from the pile of snow, the only thing left of their endeavours of the previous night.

 Over time the couple catch glimpses of a small girl, even a handprint left on their window in the ice.  Until, one magical day, the snow child arrives in their cabin.

The prose completely captures the feel of the wild Alaskan landscape, the space, the harsh winters, the loneliness, but also its intense and fragile beauty. I'm waiting with baited breath for the next book from this talented writer.
{the wilds of Alaska}
All images: google images

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