She could not fathom the hexagonal miracle of snowflakes formed from clouds, crystallized fern and feather that tumble down to light on a coat sleeve, white stars melting even as they strike. How did such force and beauty come to be in something so small and fleeting and unknowable? You did not have to understand miracles to believe in them, and in fact Mabel had come to expect the opposite. To believe, perhaps you had to cease looking for explanations and instead hold the little thing in your hands as long as you were able before it slipped like water between your fingers. (Eowyn Ivey, The Snow Child)
Was Faina really a snow maiden? What really happened to her when she disappeared? If we’d lived in 1920, would any of us have attempted to survive on a homestead in the beautiful but harsh Alaskan wilderness?
These are some of the questions 69 of us discussed at December’s meeting of the Pfister Book Club. (You read that correctly! We had quite a crowd!)
If you were unable to come, the consensus was clear that we loved Eowyn Ivey’s The Snow Child. A lovely and inventive juxtaposition of the brutal Alaskan landscape and an enchanting Russian fairy tale, it’s the perfect winter novel to read snuggled by a fire or with a cup of tea…or with Pfister Executive Pasty Chef Travis Martinez’s incredible dessert he called “Snow Whimsy”.
This was probably the most impressive dessert I’ve ever eaten. Travis crafted glasses out of sugar that looked like ice. The ice cups held a homemade marshmallow and a lemon tartlet. Fresh raspberries sparkled with edible white gold, crystallized blue sugar looked like lacy frost etched on a windowpane, and the plate was covered with candied almonds and white chocolate that looked like freshly fallen snow. It was gorgeous and delicious and managed to be as magical as the book we loved discussing, and none of us had ever seen anything like it.
At this meeting of our book club, I had several conversations with participants about how refreshing and fun it is to have a community book club that is open to everyone, so you never know who you’ll end up sitting with. Most book clubs tend to be groups of friends or acquaintances, and it’s different to be part of a club with readers whose only definitive thing in common is a love for books.
On January 11 at 7 pm, we will be discussing Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney, which I chose for our January selection because it takes place on New Years Eve. I’ve been listening to this book on Audible and love the narration, so I’d recommend reading it that way if you enjoy audiobooks!
Here’s the description of our next read:
It’s the last day of 1984, and 85-year-old Lillian Boxfish is about to take a walk.
As she traverses a grittier Manhattan, a city anxious after an attack by a still-at-large subway vigilante, she encounters bartenders, bodega clerks, chauffeurs, security guards, bohemians, criminals, children, parents, and parents-to-be—in surprising moments of generosity and grace. While she strolls, Lillian recalls a long and eventful life that included a brief reign as the highest-paid advertising woman in America—a career cut short by marriage, motherhood, divorce, and a breakdown.
A love letter to city life—however shiny or sleazy—Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk by Kathleen Rooney paints a portrait of a remarkable woman across the canvas of a changing America: from the Jazz Age to the onset of the AIDS epidemic; the Great Depression to the birth of hip-hop.
Please join us in the Rouge ballroom next month!