The prodigal daughter is back to the book blog! I know, I know. I've been gone the longest time. Truth be told, I just wasn't reading fiction. I don't know what got into me, but my brain just said "no" every time I tried to delve into a new story. But I was at the library last week to pick up some picture books for my class when my eye was drawn to the cover of The Snow Child, propped up in a hopeful manner on the Staff Recommends book display.
I read the back cover.
I snatched it into my bag like the treasure it turned out to be.
It took me about three or four days to read this quiet story. The quiet comes from all the snow (it's set in the Alaskan frontier wilderness of the 1920's) and the gentle way Ivey's story gently draws you in. Jack and Mabel are an older childless couple who have moved to Alaska to rely upon the company of each other and escape the judging glances of polite society. But a melancholy and regret tugs at both of their hearts for the child they lost so long ago.
One night, in an uncharacteristic playful romp in the season's first snow, they fashion a beautiful snow child with bright red gloves and cap. The next morning she's gone but footprints lead away towards the forest, forcing reader and characters alike to ask difficult questions about what is real and what is fantasy, where wild begins and humanity ends. So many times while reading this book I stopped to pause and gaze off, turning a contradiction around in my mind, trying to puzzle it through. I confess I found no solid answers which is why I want someone else to read this book so I have someone to talk to about it. But be warned...it's a book that will get me talking fast and confused and happy....prepare thyself.
I only found out after reading this debut novel that it was nominated for a 2013 Pulitzer. It didn't win, which means The Orphan Master's Son must be a real gem - The Snow Child was near-perfect in my book.
Please, when someone reads this, let me know. I can't wait to discuss.
And I'm glad to be back.