05 February 2012

First Impression

Being a lover of winter, snow, and fairy tales, I was immediately intrigued when I learned of Eowyn Ivey’s first novel, The Snow Child, set in Alaska. Newlyweds in 1966, hubby and I bought the books Homesteading in Alaska, and How to Get Out of the Rat Race and Live on $500 a Year. That never happened. Still dreamers, Alaska is on our bucket list.

The Snow Child is a delight to hold. The paper is lightly textured and feels like cotton. An impish mysterious small figure peeks from behind the paper-white bark of a stark tree. A red fox peeks from behind another tree and watches the child. The dark night holds a sliver of the moon- or is it an eclipse? Perhaps an eye? I’m only on page forty, so I’m eager to discover everything that will be revealed in the story.

I inspected this book carefully before beginning to read. First edition 2012. The paper feels gentle. The type is the perfect size for bedtime reading by tired eyes. There is a handmade quality to this edition. The edge of the book is not surgically sliced at a hard ninety degree angle. The pages are slightly angled, almost divided in sections, like the sewn signatures of a hand made book. The cover beneath the dust jacket is white as snow and the end papers are dark-night blue. Lovely. A mother who always swaddled her babies, I feel Eowyn Ivey’s story is revered by the designers of her book and her publisher Little, Brown and Company by the way The Snow Child is presented. I know I am in for a treat!

Swaddled in bed last night beneath a wool blanket and down throw, our house as still as Jack and Mabel's homesteader cabin, I began reading The Snow Child and slipped with them into their world near the Wolverine River in Alaska. I read slowly, pondering Eowyn Ivey’s phrases, sentences, and skill as a writer. And, tonight, when I read from The Snow Child, I hope to again fall asleep with a tear on my cheek that sparkles as one of Alaska’s snowflakes.

Cathy Safiran

February 5, 2012