Friday, January 1, 2010

Book Review of
The Girl with Glass Feet by Ali Shaw
for Holt Publishers
by Amy Sperry Faldet
As you read this stellar faerytale novel you will want to carry it in your heart and walk in a soft snow fall to feel all that drifts down
and you will gather...

and you will wonder...


and by the end...



You will see how people can fill up or empty...




Reading Ali Shaw's descriptions of the chase for, and distraction of, light in the first pages coupled with the hint that a faerytale forest would possibly pull someone towards adventure, had me engaged in this tale in the first 3 pages! Anyone who knows my own faerytales for my four children, my blog, or my personality, could tell you if on page 2 an author of a faerytale novel states, "But light was magic, making the dull earth vivid." the author and I must be kindred spirits!





Therefore, I feel genuinely blessed that Holt Publishers asked that I review Ali Shaw's debut novel, The Girl with Glass Feet coming out in America in January 2010.





The book arrived in the mail with snowflakes blowing in a magical fashion. Many of you may have seen the type. They don't fall from above to down below. They don't blow at you in a horizontal attack, no, infact, the snowflakes aren't falling at all, but swirling up and around and create a sparkle through the sun beams and shafts of light aiming at my porch. Little did I know that Shaw would deftly send intriguing, sparkling, bits of character description to me as I read in much the same way as these snowflakes. The soft, yet, intricate writing had me learning, as I went, just enough to want to know more and with each dusting, realizing the depth each character held. Shaw creates archipelagic characters that rise, like humans should, out of the icy, cloudy, waters of life's memories even while bracing against the whipping winds of life's disappointments and tragedies to let the light fill them and open their hearts up to the miracle and magic that surrounds those who are awake enough to look...





I loved "watching," if you will, the thawing-out of these characters as they discovered that sometimes true autonomy comes in rising above the murkiness of delusion and embracing how connected we all really are. As you open the pages of The Girl with Glass Feet and let the characters dance their strange, individual, movements around you, they begin to land on your velvet imagination, icy specimens that gently melt into your heart with each new discovery, each new landing, each transformation.





Plot:





The tale crafted by Ali has two central characters, Midas Crook, a young photographer/light-seeker and Ida Maclaird, a young woman, newly pale and a monochrome of titanium and hidden crystal. She is turning to glass and she turns to Midas after meeting him by chance or fate in a faerytale woods. The wonder and joy of Ali Shaw's plot is that from these two, from their meetings, grows delicate, crystalline branches and as we learn more and more about them, all the characters gently grow with the story like spires on a snowflake. As I read, I am shown glimpses from memories until gracefully the plot resembles a linked cluster of lives, at times crystallized, held in time, at times reaching, feathered, icy, arms out and gathering other's lives into the cluster as the swirls and winds of fate carry me through the tale. With each reaching out by the characters to friends and family, illumination is gained in the search for Ida's cure and I ask myself, "Will Midas ever want more than his "silver nitrate and slow light?"(129)





Descriptive joys:





Chapter 6 begins with such a lovely descriptive sentence. I give it to you now as a small gift,





"In a hammock of moss the size of a cupped palm, dangling between green-barked branches, a moth-winged bull slept." A treat, no?





Ali Shaw presents to me, as I read, many morsels of description that transport. Jellyfish that gather light and glimmer with yellow and pink; dragonfly mysteries left completely white, perfect, in the monochrome that they became; miniature winged bulls and a strong, sweet, pewter-colored lead heroine with crystalline toes and an adventurous, warm, heart lace the skies of my mind and have me following the lightning shimmers they leave, as a flashbulb leaves dancing ribbons behind my eyelids.





I followed them all through the book, eagerly.





At times, Shaw sets me down in a setting that leaves me feeling the crunch of snow under my knees with sentences, like, "An afternoon of snow lay deep in Gustav's garden." Can't you see an afternoon's worth laying over the grass? Description that is rich, not forced, gently-linked and yet, stellar and unrepetitive dot the novel. Only once did I trip for a moment in descriptive discrepancy, if it could even be called that, where little Denver is described twice, in much the same way, on two separate, consecutive, pages one time as mouse-haired and on the next with a "whiz of ginger hair" and Shaw describes her sweet "over-lapping" teeth for a second time (excellently, I might add). Otherwise, I journey, never melancholy, but, still with soulful exploration with the characters in search of the poultice, the spell, that will restore dear Ida and the hope that guarded Midas can learn to touch again and find his happy, golden, heart full of light and love.

7 comments:

Silke said...

Dearest Amy, that's definitely now a book on my list of books to read! Wishing you and your family a wonderful 2010! Many blessings and much laughter!! Love, Silke

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Amy, thank you so much for this incredible recommendation. I must seek this for I too want to engage my readers in adventures that transform, carry away and swoon! Your images, like always, are superb. Happy day, Anita

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

Oh dearest, I just reread the post and saw that you have been asked by the publishers to read this....may I ask you for recommendations for publishing companies for fairytales and humorous literature? My husband at Rattus Scribus wants to submit something. Please visit him off my sidebar: Rattus Scribus and let him know, please. You are a good source of information in this field. Merci and peace...Anita

debbie said...

MY DEAR AMY,
OH, HOW I LOVE THE FAMILIAR RING ((SMILE)) OF AMY ROLLING OFF OF MY TONGUE....I COULDN'T REPLACE HER NOR WOULD I EVER TRY
YOU MUST HAVE BEEN READING STORIES TO SOMEONE BEFORE ME, AS MY CHAIR IS STILL NICE AND WARM......COME ON ...GET TO READING...I AM JUST ITCHING TO KNOW WHAT IS GOING ON.
DO THEY HAVE NEW YEARS DAY IN SUCH A WONDROUS PLACE THIS FAERYTALE SPACE OR DO THEY HAVE DAYS LIKE THE FIRST DAY OF FAERY DUST OR ROSE BLOSSOM FESTIVAL DAY
I WANTED YOU TO KNOW I HAVE STARTED A NEW BLOG CALLED
SIMPLY DEBBIE
YOU CAN REACH IT ON MY PROFILE PAGE OF THERE'S AN ANGEL ON MY FRONT PORCH OR BY THE URL
http://iamsimplydebbie.blogspot.com
THANK YOU FOR YOUR BEAUTIFUL FAERYTALE SPACE FRIENDSHIP DURING 2009 AND I LOOK FORWARD TO READING THIS NEW BOOK IN 2010.
YOU ARE SUCH A JOY...AN AN ANGEL IN A FAERYTALE SUIT.
WISHING YOU AND YOURS LAUGHTER, LOVE, LEARNING, LEANING ON THE LORD, AND EVERY BLESSING THERE IS INCLUDING HEALTH.
ANGEL HUGS
DEBBIE

Beth Niquette said...

Sounds like a book I will want to add to my collection of fairytale books! Thank you for sharing!

stregata said...

Amy, wishing you a wonderful New Year, full of health, happiness, inspiration, light and love! xo

Such a Wondrous Place this Faery Space said...

All of you dears are in for a treat if you pick this up. It is a faerytale for grown-ups that thaws. Anita, hope my email explained things better, as I am not able to know publishers beyond reading say, Writer's Market or How to Get Happily Published etc. I am ever so grateful that a sweet dear at Holt emailed me to read for them. Hope the email encourages and love to you and yours. Light, Amy