As the days grow shorter and the temperatures drop, you may want to consider The Snow Child by Eowyn Ivey for your winter book club read. Blending magical realism and historical fiction, the novel is set in the Alaskan wilderness in the 1920’s as a childless couple struggles to homestead in the rough country. During a whimsical moment after the first snow, the couple builds a snow child. The next morning, the snow figure is gone, but instead they catch sight of a beautiful little blonde girl running through the forest. The lyrical, descriptive prose and haunting theme made this story one of my favorite book club reads. Here are some book club questions for The Snow Child to help guide your discussion:
- Themes of loss and longing are prevalent in the novel. How do Jack and Mabel cope with the challenges they face, both individually and as a couple? How does the arrival of Faina impact their sense of loss?
- Analyze the symbolism of the snow child, Faina. What does she represent in the story, and how does her presence affect the dynamics between the other characters?
- By definition, magical realism combines the fantastical with the real. How does the author balance these two elements in The Snow Child.
- Discuss Jack and Mabel’s relationship and their bond with Faina. How do these relationships evolve over the course of the story?
- How does the setting impact the characters’ daily lives and decisions? What does the novel reveal about the resilience of the human spirit?
- Without giving away spoilers, discuss your thoughts on the ending. Did it meet your expectations, and how did it affect your interpretation of the story? What unanswered questions or ambiguities that stood out to you?