Once in a while one comes across a maiden book which gets one hooked. I picked up The Snow Child as a recommendation from Goodreads.
I did not have very high hopes from it. But within a couple of pages I was engrossed. I knew I was going to love the book. The book is about an old couple - Jack and Mabel- who have lost a child. They yearn for one, and the desire to avoid prying relatives, they come to cold and desolate Alaska. They start a home there with no hope though. Till Faina walks into their lives... A girl of the untamed nature. She ties the lives of Jack, Mabel and their friends Esther and George.
The book describes the wild and abandoned Alaskan scenes with a unique touch. The quietness, the secretive creatures that lurk, the vagaries of nature all have an eerie feeling. I generally pick up a book without reading anything about it. The same was the case with this. But mid way when I started getting goose flesh on reading how having a freshly created snow man melt can feel unearthly, I had to ensure that I was not reading a book about ghosts or ghouls. The genre of this book is 'magical realism and fantasy '. I read some bits about the book to allay my fears of reading a ghastly tale.
As I continued or turned out to be a page turner. Human emotions were handled with lots gloves and were so poignantly etched. The impact of one entity on so many lives and on itself keeps the reader thoroughly hooked. I am not a fan on surreal stories and this might be the first that I liked. The book leaves a lot of unanswered questions and leaves a lot to interpretation. I would have have liked a bit more closure. But overall it was sheer pleasure reading the book and I would recommend it highly
Would not do justice to the book without some excerpts : -
'This was nothing like back home. He didn't enjoy his solitude in these woods but instead was self concious and alert, fearing most of all his own ineptness. ' I feel we all have similar emotions away from home don't we?
'As the cabin darkened, Mabel lit the oil lamps, put more wood on the fire, and tried to stop her rhythmic pacing. She thought of her mother, how often she had paced and wrung her hands when Mabel- father didn't come home from some meeting in the university. She thought of the wives of soldiers, gold miners and trappers, drunks and adulterers, all waiting long into the night. Why was it always the woman's fate to pace and fret and wait?'
'You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them,and in fact Mabel had come to suspect the opposite. '
So spot on. To believe in miracles one does have to let go of reason.
'In my old age,I see that life itself is often more fantastic and terrible than the stories we believed as children, and that perhaps there is no harm in finding magic among trees.'
'Cradling a swaddled infant in their arms, mothers would distractedly touch their lips to their babies 'foreheads. Passing their toddlers in a hall, mothers would tossle their hair or even sweep them up in their arms and kiss them hard on their chins and necks until the children squealed with glee. Where else in life Mabel wondered, could a woman love so openly and with such abandon.'