There's an ever growing pile of books I want to read…
The Girl with Glass Feet was one of the books on my buy, borrow or steal* list last year and I was very excited when my girlfriend sent me a copy that she’d acquired in a book warehouse closing down sale. (It was one of a few books that arrived in a giant care package just before Christmas!)
It’s a magical realism fairy-tale type story for adults, set on a remote island. It’s also a love story about a girl who is slowly turning to glass. It’s also a literary work about the connections between people and also how difficult it is to ever really know someone else.
The first time Ida visits St. Hauda’s Land, she returns home to find a piece of glass lodged in her toe. As the glass begins to take over her feet, she realises she needs to go back there to understand how it happened and to discover if it can be reversed. When unhappy local man Midas meets her in the woods, he has no idea how it’s going to change everything.
What I Liked:
The writing was absolutely beautiful. It was like reading a poem or falling into a work of art. There was actually something distancing about it, as though the words held you at arms length so that you could better admire their beauty.
I also really enjoyed the magical realism elements of the story. The progression of Ida’s “illness” and the lengths they go to in search of a cure were wonderfully handled.
I liked both Ida and Midas as characters. Even the minor characters in this story were incredibly layered and interesting, with their own motivations and secrets. The past and the present were also cleverly linked.
This was, in places, a surprisingly darkly funny book.
What I disliked:
Occasionally the distancing style was a little too alienating for my taste, making it hard to empathise with the characters. This was particularly true of Midas. It took me quite a long time to warm up to him.
The plot of this story isn’t tied into a nice neat bow for the reader. There are elements that we don’t get to understand. There are also elements that we learn about but that the characters who most need to know do not.
Although in many ways this is a hopeful story, it still broke my heart and left me reeling.
This was a beautifully crafted story and I recommend it, just make sure your heart can take it before you start reading.
*disclaimer: I would not actually steal a book.