Thursday, March 1, 2012

The Snow Child


The Snow Child


Perhaps it is simply the light, one no other season can claim. A light that boldly pierces the windowpanes to paint razor-sharp runes on the kitchen wall. A light that boomerangs off the blanket of snow, brighter than the sun itself.

Or maybe it is only the fragrance. Filling the crystal air with the wild scent of ice and hemlock, cinnamon and pine, it comes to me as the memory of an old friend whenever I bury my face in Edward’s cold fur during a romp in the early hours of a January morning.

It is there in the boreal moon that hangs low over the tops of the bare naked trees.

In the emerald madness of the northern lights.

And in the snow.

Always in the snow.

Drifting down through the dark woods at midnight or resting on my eyelashes during an afternoon walk.

It has a magic that Springtime knows nothing about.

A mystery denied to the fall.

It is winter and, for me, it has always been the most delicious season of them all.


Edward and I have been denied a true winter this year, temperatures rarely dipping low enough to excite us, wind that has refused to properly howl. A much more salubrious climate than summer, to be sure, but a bit of a disappointment nonetheless. Perhaps this was the reason I was drawn to this title on a prowl through a bookshop last week. The Snow Child. With its frost white cover of a little girl and a fox peering out at me from behind bare trees, this book ensnared my eye as soon as I walked in. I reached for it instinctively and purchased it at once. Perhaps you’ll think me mad, but some books are like that. They call to me. I seem to recognize their covers. Their size and weight just feel at home in my hands, as though every single word, not one less nor one more, adds up to something written especially for me. This was such a book.


I carried The Snow Child home and made myself wait to open it until I could snuggle down in bed with Edward’s big head resting on my tummy. And just as I suspected, it was all there. All the magic of winter that I had missed these last months. All the mystery. All the beauty. All found in this story of a little girl with white blonde hair, darting through an Alaskan forest - a flash of blue eyes in the sunlight, a snippet of colour in snow.

I am reluctant to tell too much about The Snow Child lest I spoil someone’s personal discovery of its delightful power to bewitch the imagination. I will say that the first time author, Eowyn Ivey, has captured a story on these pages that should rightfully become a classic. Born and raised in the Alaska she writes of, every word simply sings with authenticity and unique creativity.


I have been to Alaska in January and driven a dog sled through the forested wilderness, an experience that shall never leave my memory. I recall gazing into the first line of fir trees that stood sentry over the dark woods all around me as the dogs stamped and jostled, ready to run. Without being told, I knew this forest was unlike the ones I lived with at home. Behind those laced limbs of green were secrets I could never hope to decipher, ancient, other-worldly, and more than a bit unsettling. If only I had stared a bit longer, allowed my eyes to push past the green guardians and glimpse the icy kingdom inside, who can say what wonders I would have found. Instead, feeling the chill of mystery, I called out to the dogs and they spirited me away in the wind. Now, through The Snow Child, I know a bit more about what could have been mine to discover if only I had waited around a bit longer.

You simply must read this book!


23 comments:

  1. Hello Pamela:
    Well, if you hop over to Budapest, you can be the perfect Snow Child here right at this moment!The ground is blanketed in white and temperatures are below zero....but you will have to be quick as all is set to change later in the week!

    What a tantalising introduction you give to this novel. Right now, I have to say that it has much more appeal than the cold, wet white stuff outside!

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  2. I should be a snowbaby since I was born in December, but I just want to see one snow per year. Around here, we didn't see a flake this year and it was warm. Same as last year. I hope that doesn't forbode the summer of last year, which was hellish. I think I need to move to San Diego, if only my husband would go.

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  3. I'd read about this book and was intrigued. Now with your rapturous review, it's definitely going on my reading list.

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  4. Pamela... I absolutely love your blog. It is my favorite! I appreciate the depth of thought you gift to us....and feeling, too, of course. I don't love the snow, but I am trying to see it from your point of view and thank you for that perspective. I am ordering the book now..it sounds wonderful.

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  5. I ordered it two days ago and am waiting for it to arrive - it's been highly recommended to me by a number of people. Even more excited now!

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  6. Pamela: I love your blog—and Edward, of course! It’s such a pleasure to browse there, when I need some good company. I’ve added From the House of Edward to my list of favorite blogs, and have also tagged you—see http://writingwithlight-bonnard3.blogspot.com/2012/02/ive-been-tagged.html for details if you choose to participate; otherwise I hope you won’t mind my having directed a few more visitors your way! And please feel free to visit/follow/comment on Writing with Light if you feel so inclined. Best,

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  7. This I will add to my reading list, which is getting quite long as I have not been able to cross many titles off lately...I know the feeling of coming across a book one's intuition or instinct informs us we must have..I recognize the impulse, and how gratifying it is when it takes you where you want to go!

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  8. Pamela Snow Child sounds so wonderful! It has been a crazy winter here...30 one day 60 the next!

    xoxo
    Karena
    Art by Karena

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  9. We have also had a warmer than usual winter and we have had no snow, unless you count one afternoon in late January where it was sleeting for about an hour. Hardly what anyone who ever lived in the North would call snow! (I am not complaining however, I do not like snow and cold, so this has been a great winter. Of course there are still a couple of weeks to go....

    I seldom read a book that has been recommended to me by someone else. Loving a book is such a subjective thing. I may have to make an exception here! I agree with so much of what you say, so perhaps I will agree with what you like to read as well. We'll see! :)

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  10. We are in the midst of a rare West Coast deep freeze. The ponds are frozen and we have to break the ice so that the ducks can paddle out a little way.
    I'll look for that book on my travels after my Thursday walk. I always appreciate a good recommendation!

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  11. Hello Pamela

    How beautifully you describe a snowy day and the sharpness of light. The painting is hauntingly beautiful and I have been gazing at it. Who is the artist?
    I love hearing about books and in particular when recommended by a very special writer and her dog.

    Thank you for a delightful read

    Helen xx

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  12. Oh, Pamela! I am halfway into this lovely, haunting story. I was also taken by the cover...

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  13. I absolutely adored it too Pamela. I could not put it down and had to get up in the night and read a bit more because I had gone to bed leaving the book at a place where I wished to know what happened next.
    Brilliant. I hope it is made into a film now.

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  14. Never any snow here, but never mind, I will be off to Alibris to find this lovely book!

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  15. I'm intrigued enough to go the bookstore...

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  16. I remember cross country skiing at dusk in the woods in the Upper Penninsula of Michigan. I've never been anywhere in my life that was so quiet you could hear the snow fall. Your description is what remains with me about that experience- the secret, mysterious, serenity of the deep woods in Winter.

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  17. great read... :) nice experience and just came across your blog..really nice

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  18. Dear Pamela, I could not believe this post, today I bought just this book, cannot wait to crack open the spine, so to speak.
    PS: I added a response to your lovely message, with a link for that great star light, you saw. It has a long standing tradition in Saxony and now larger areas in Germany!
    Here again: http://www.herrnhuter-sterne.de/en.html
    Enjoy the arrival of spring!
    Here we have the first tell tale signs!
    xoxo

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  19. Snow has come and gone around here but I wish for a Very Cold Winter. It helps with the insect vermin on the dogs later in the year.

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  20. I almost never buy a book until I've read it. I don't want to make room on my crowded shelf unless the book is worth reading again and again and again. So I went to the library and found I was ninth on the waiting list for The Snow Child. Chagrin. I called the tiny library a mile down the road and they put their only copy on hold for me. I'll be the first to read it. Giggle. I'm already halfway out the door 'cause I'm hungry for a book that I can't say no to.

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  21. Your review of this book is the best one of I've read or heard. The book is sitting on my bedside table, waiting its turn. But after reading what you had to say, it will be next.

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  22. Pamela,

    I thought I commented on this post but I guess it disappeared. I too am a snow child, I LOVE winter. I love the cosy, cocoon feeling, the crisp and brisk air, the twinkle of the stars on a winter night, and I love snow. My favorite time in the winter is to be out at night, withe the fresh fallen snow, the stars shining withe the moon to light my way as I shovel.

    Sadly I do not live where we get much snow but I do visit family in Wisconsin frequently so I do get to live out my snowy dreams.

    Thank you for the wondefrful book recommendation.

    Elizabeth

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  23. I started reading the first chapter of this enchanting book in a bookstore and your review makes me wish that I'd taken it home with me. I see another bookstore visit in my future. I've only seen Alaska in summer but Maine is quite wintery.

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