February 08, 2005

Catch the Light on Snow

It seems there are so many good books these days, so much good writing, so much to read. I�ve been very fortunate to have friends who read similar types of books so we pass them back and forth. I just received a shipment from a friend who keeps me supplied periodically with a great selection. This time I finished the first book almost before the box was open.

Light on Snow by Anita Shreve is without doubt on my one of the best books list. With direct, spare prose she tells the story of a father and daughter who, living isolated in the woods of New Hampshire, find, in the middle of winter, a newborn baby when taking a walk in those woods. The story that follows is like watching a precious flower opening up, difficult, delicate, sensitive, magical.

The story is told in the voice of the twelve year old daughter in first person present (even though she states that she is now thirty, at the time of writing her story). The immediacy of the telling (in first person present) gives it great power as she relates how her father took her away from what had been a happy childhood in Connecticut after the death (in a car accident) of her mother and young sister. Even with its dark story-line, the writing is so perfect, the emotions so honest, that it doesn�t feel bleak. Her anger and his grief are beautifully portrayed. As is the resolution and personal growth experienced through the discovery of the baby.

This was the third book I have read by Anita Shreve, and by far, the best. Both The Pilot�s Wife and Sea Glass were beautifully crafted, intensely felt, interesting stories, yet lacked the depth I felt in Light on Snow. So, as there was another novel by Shreve in this current box, I began it (All He Ever Wanted) with enthusiastic expectation. Only to find it so very different in tone and style that I was, at first, put off and not sure I wanted to continue. But, as it is hard for me not to finish a book, I am nearing the middle of the novel and finding it beginning to catch my attention, albeit in an entirely different way than the other three of hers. But more about that later.

Posted by leya at February 8, 2005 06:46 AM

Thanks for the recommendation! I will look for this book. I too have read her books.
Love Jeanne

Posted by: Jeanne at February 8, 2005 12:38 PM