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Tag: Eowyn Ivey

To the Bright Edge of the World by Eowyn Ivey

I greatly enjoyed Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child:

It was an evocative and deeply human story with a fairy tale woven in. And like so many fairy tales and folklore – not the Disney versions – this one was touched with sorrow and tragedy. But also infused with love and hope and beauty as they really exist.

Gorgeous prose, a wonderfully developed setting that become a character of its own, and a great cast of characters make this a novel with depth and emotion – a heft belied by the fairy tale at it heart.

So I was excited to read her second novel, To the Bright Edge of the World, a beautiful and engaging epistolary novel.

It reads like the documentation of real history rather than fiction. It moves from the interior thoughts and emotions of its characters to the historic events that surround them, and the interaction of people across social, cultural and language boundaries, all while sucking you into this gripping story of a fantastical expedition and its impact on both the future and the lives of a young marriage threatened by the separation it causes.

Ivey deftly develops the characters both as they react to events and as they reflect on their unique past; family, events, defining moments. You dive deep into the private lives of the characters but also subtly pull back to see the long term impact of the events that drive the story and how they ripple through lives generations later.

And mixed throughout is the possibility of the supernatural.  She does not assume that the folklore and mythology of the native cultures is superstition from the past.  And the characters encounter events and circumstances which cause them to question what they think and know.  Ivey deftly allows this mystery to exist without choosing sides.

Truly a creative masterpiece.

 

The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey

Back in February I wrote the following:

Everything about The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey makes me want to read it. The cover art, the website, the video, the plot, the connection to a Russian fairy tale, the author’s name – everything. Thus begins the rearrangement of my TBR pile …

As the above makes clear, it just seemed like a book that had so many of the elements I look for in a book.  For those of you out of the loop, here is the publisher’s 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.

Well, in April I finally got the chance to read it.  With all the hype surrounding this book – my own above, and many others – there was ample room for disappointment. But despite the fact the book was different than I had expected, there was no let down for me.

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