This had been thrown up as a recommendation from Amazon a few months ago when I was having a browse. I added it to my Wishlist and only looked at it again when I was wondering what to use one of my Audible credits on.
Unlike the last audiobook I reviewed, the narrators voice (Jilly Bond) did not grate on my nerves in the slightest, and I could listen to it at the proper speed. In fact, I think her reading added to this beautifully haunting tale.
Midas Crook is a loner amongst loners. He has lived his whole life in a small town on the snowbound archipelago of St Hauda’s Land. He is a photographer, although he feels that taking photos is more than just a hobby, it is part of his very being. When chasing some sunlight one day, he happens across Ida MacLaird sitting on a rock by the water, and is drawn to her pale face and almost monchrome features.
What he doesn’t know at first is that Ida’s toes have turned to glass. And the glass is slowly spreading through the rest of her feet. She has returned to St Hauda’s Land, the place where she was first struck by this phenomenon, to try and find the mysterious Henry Fuwa who she believes will be able to help her reverse the spread of glass.
This book is a magical, beautiful and often heart-breaking modern fairytale, full of flawed characters. They are often so blind to what’s in front of them that you want to shake them, but there are many people in life like that.
As Ida slowly becomes less of a person, Midas seems to become more of one. It is almost like they are on a seesaw, and need to balance each other out. i did actually wonder about their names – Ida and Midas…it was almost like she was a part of him – that he needed her to be his whole self. But perhaps I was reading too much into that.
Shaw’s writing is absolutely beautiful – vivid and captivating with such hauntingly poetic descriptions, but never too overdone. I never actually felt like he was trying too hard. It was just right…at least, for me! There are magical moments such as the tiny moth-winged cattle that Fuwa raises mixed together with the darker side of reality like Midas’ father’s suicide. And all is never quite as it first appears.
The book didn’t end how I thought it would, but I think that made it even better. The lack of clichés throughout could have been spoiled by a predictable ending.
I will definitely be looking out for more of his work – and I hope his next tale is just as captivating.