Clearly, I’m in a minority since Ivey, who draws heavily on a Russian fable of the same name, was a 2013 Pulitzer prize finalist.
There’s a lot to like: the stark descriptions of the 1920s Alaskan wilderness, for instance, and the detail of life in a remote homestead. And the pioneering spirit of Mabel and Jack, the central protagonists, is the stuff of which America was made.
It’s all beautifully written too but in leaving readers to decide for themselves whether the snow child Faina is a living breathing human girl or a figure of the imagination, Ivey loses the plot.
Ultimately, this is a fairy tale that doesn’t quite bewitch.