The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey
A Novel

82%

19 Critic Reviews

Ivey's intimate knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness... infuses her novel with an intangible beauty. Despite the thick desperation of her characters, Ivey focuses on the bright, yet fleeting light that enters their lives...
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

Alaska, 1920: a brutal place to homestead, and especially tough for recent arrivals Jack and Mabel. Childless, they are drifting apart--he breaking under the weight of the work of the farm; she crumbling from loneliness and despair. In a moment of levity during the season's first snowfall, they build a child out of snow. The next morning the snow child is gone--but they glimpse a young, blonde-haired girl running through the trees.

This little girl, who calls herself Faina, seems to be a child of the woods. She hunts with a red fox at her side, skims lightly across the snow, and somehow survives alone in the Alaskan wilderness. As Jack and Mabel struggle to understand this child who could have stepped from the pages of a fairy tale, they come to love her as their own daughter. But in this beautiful, violent place things are rarely as they appear, and what they eventually learn about Faina will transform all of them.
 

About Eowyn Ivey

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Eowyn LeMay Ivey was raised in Alaska and continues to live there with her husband and two daughters. She received her BA in journalism and minor in creative writing through the honors program at Western Washington University, studied creative nonfiction at the University of Alaska Anchorage graduate program, and worked for nearly 10 years as an award-winning reporter at the Frontiersman newspaper. She is the author of the New York Times bestseller The Snow Child.
 
Published February 1, 2012 by Reagan Arthur Books. 404 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, Science Fiction & Fantasy. Fiction
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Critic reviews for The Snow Child
All: 19 | Positive: 17 | Negative: 2

Kirkus

Good
on Dec 04 2011

The book’s tone throughout has a lovely push and pull...and the ending is both surprising and earned.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Tjala on Apr 30 2012

I don't normally enjoy re-tellings of fairy-tales because I find them a bit repetitive, but this was brilliantly crafted from a story that isn't that well known.

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Guardian

Good
Reviewed by Henry Krempels on Mar 03 2012

Ivey's elegant writing contrasts with the rough places she describes; it is unsurprising that she lives in Alaska, because she depicts the cold, sparse and brutal landscape with real fondness.

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Guardian

Above average
Reviewed by Carrie O'Grady on Feb 24 2012

This is pure storytelling, refreshingly ungilded and sympathetic, but little more.

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NPR

Excellent
Reviewed by Alan Cheuse on Dec 26 2012

This terrific novelistic debut will convince you that in some cases, a fantastic story — with tinges of sadness and a mysterious onward-pulsing life force — may be best for this, or any, season.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Jennifer Ochs on Jan 31 2012

Ivey’s The Snow Child is an exciting and moving story that deals with life, hurt, loss and longing, and leaves room for hope and the celebration of life.

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NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Karen Dionne on Feb 01 2012

Ms. Ivey’s debut novel is a triumph—a splendid retelling of a familiar tale that glows with the intensity of the northern lights and generates its own magic.

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Star Tribune

Good
Reviewed by MEGANNE FABREGA on Feb 04 2012

Ivey's intimate knowledge of the Alaskan wilderness... infuses her novel with an intangible beauty. Despite the thick desperation of her characters, Ivey focuses on the bright, yet fleeting light that enters their lives...

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Book Reporter

Good
Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman on Feb 16 2012

THE SNOW CHILD is well worth a read, especially in these last chilly days of winter.

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Globe and Mail

Good
Reviewed by Leah Hager Cohen on Mar 18 2012

In its finest moments, the novel conjures the arcane in sublimely earthy prose...

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AV Club

Good
Reviewed by Samantha Nelson on Feb 15 2012

The story spans more than a decade, and provides lovely looks at the comforts of old relationships and the fire of new love, along with exploring the challenges of children becoming adults and of adults remembering childish joy.

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The Independent

Good
Reviewed by Nicholas Tucker on Feb 21 2012

What makes this novel most remarkable is the quality of its writing. Descriptions of natural life come over bright and clear.

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Washington Independent Review of Books

Above average
Reviewed by Amanda Holmes Duffy on Jan 23 2013

...Eowyn Ivey draws us into the lean and wild world of the Alaskan wilderness beautifully in this novel. She loves the magical snow child she has created. Many readers will love her as well.

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Express

Excellent
Reviewed by Charlotte Heathcote on Feb 19 2012

It is an exceptional book that deserves to melt millions of hearts.

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Slate

Below average
Reviewed by Lydia Kiesling on Jan 31 2012

...The Snow Child is a totally unobjectionable novel with good pacing and a pretty set, but it is not a revelation of content or style or form.

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City Book Review

Excellent
Reviewed by Tammy McCartney on Apr 04 2012

A consummate wordsmith, Eowyn Ivey has crafted a beautiful book. The vivid descriptions of Alaska’s stark majesty are breathtaking...The Snow Child engages all the senses and leaves the reader with a full heart.

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Guardian

Excellent
Reviewed by Pam Norfolk on Jan 31 2012

The Snow Child is a remarkable achievement, a debut novel of awesome beauty, soaring imagination and descriptive power.

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Watermark Books And Cafe

Good
Reviewed by Melissa Fox on Jan 23 2013

It was a soft and poetic book, something substantial enough to curl up with and enjoy on a cold winter's night and yet magical enough to provide an escape from everyday life.

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Herald Sun

Good
Reviewed by Cheryl Critchley on Apr 18 2012

This well-written debut novel by an Alaskan writer is both sad and uplifting and brings to life one of the world's harshest wilderness areas pre-technology.

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Reader Rating for The Snow Child
83%

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Terri McGinty 23 May 2013

Rated the book as 5 out of 5