Saturday, 1 March 2014

Cephalopod Coffeehouse Review (actually)



The Snow Child is inspired by the Russian fairy tale The Little Daughter of the Snow. I am partial to a renewal of an old tale, it's a reminder that the important themes of humanity don't change so much. It is set in 1920s Alaska, and the landscape forms a good part of the story. Jack and Mabel are looking for a new life, looking to escape the grief of losing a baby. They find solid happy company in their neighbours. They find a child who lives feral in the wilderness. The rest I won't spoil for you, even if you can guess the story.

This is a book that encompasses the visceral truth of nature but doesn't dwell in the negative. Neither does it enforce a positivist view. It flows and describes:

'She had no way to know its age or gender, but there was something in the light-colored chin and long, coarse whiskers that reminded her of an old man's beard. From a distance the otter gave a comical, mischievous impression, but when it slithered close Mabel could smell fish blood and a wet chill…Living twisting muscle beneath bristly damp fur. Breaking through thin ice, splashing in cold creek water, sliding belly down across snow. Joyful, though it should have known better.'

Perfect read for a snow holiday, or for cool relief in a hot summer, or anytime for people who like fairy tales and stories that out to charm not shock.


6 comments:

  1. this sounds like a well written book, I'll look out for it as it's not my usual type of book.

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  2. Sounds good! In fact, that descriptive snippet you enclosed reminds me of your writing. (That's a GOOD thing.)

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  3. It worked for me anyway- Susan has twigged why- a similar love of the wild world :-)

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  4. Unfortunately, that seems more like one I would skip.

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  5. No worries Andrew: it would be weird for one book to suit all tastes! :-)

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  6. I love otters. Supposedly we have them in Vermont, though I've never seen one in the wild. They're an obligatory stop when I'm at the zoo - so playful.

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