2010 Desmond Elliott Prize Shortlist
Synopses & Reviews
Strange things are happening on the remote and snowbound archipelago of St. Hauda’s Land. Magical winged creatures flit around the icy bogland, albino animals hide themselves in the snow-glazed woods, and Ida Maclaird is slowly turning into glass. Ida is an outsider in these parts who has only visited the islands once before. Yet during that one fateful visit the glass transformation began to take hold, and now she has returned in search of a cure.
The Girl with Glass Feet is a love story to treasure, “crafted with elegance and swept by passionate magic and the yearning for connection. A rare pleasure” (Katherine Dunn, author of Geek Love).
"Fantastically imagined....The hybrid form of the book—fairy tale, myth, psychological realism and fantasy—impresses. But Shaw’s most delightful offerings are the vivid details he provides to make the magical real.... As Ida turns to glass, Midas must continue his own transformation, from hardened to human. The end of the book, saturated with color and emotion, is risky and brave like the message it imparts. Only a heart of glass would be unmoved." New York Times Book Review
"[I]t's Andersen's melancholy tales, steeped in loss and a brooding sense of fatedness, that shimmer around the edges of The Girl with Glass Feet. Every character in this novel yearns for a love that seems just out of reach: Midas's unhappy parents; Henry Fuwa; Carl Maulsen, who loved Ida's mother; Emiliana, the island woman who might have a cure for Ida's illness; Ida herself—all of them are bound by threads of betrayal and desire and hope, until Fate cuts those threads, calmly and without remorse." Washington Post
"Shaw is at his best when describing the fantastical world he’s created. His language manages to be poetic and economical....The look, the sound, and the scent of St. Hauda’s Land stay with you after turning the last page of this beautiful novel." The Boston Globe
About the Author
Ali Shaw graduated from Lancaster University with a degree in English literature and has since worked as a bookseller and at Oxford’s Bodleian Library. The Girl with Glass Feet is his first novel. Please visit his Web site at www.alishaw.co.uk