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eowyn ivey, the snow child

“What happened in that cold dark, when frost formed a halo in the child’s straw hair and snowflake turned to flesh and bone? Was it the way the children’s book showed, warmth spreading down through the cold, brow then cheeks, throat then lungs, warm flesh separating from snow and frozen earth? The exact science of one molecule transformed into another — that Mabel could not explain, but then again she couldn’t explain how a fetus formed in the womb, cells becoming beating heart and hoping soul.”
The odd bit of highflown and poetic in a book that manages to stick mostly to matter-of-fact (and good for it for doing so). There must be a sub-genre, or some kind of descriptor, for this kind of book, one that literalizes a fairy tale, places it in a realistic frame, which is what The Snow Child does. Ivey does a thorough job of it, and while the third act pulls focus, unfortunately I think, from the older couple who set the tone for the book in favor of a much more generic adolescent love story, she’s careful and delicate throughout.

Regan Arthur 02.10.12

February 10, 2012, 6:37am   Comments