The Girl with Glass Feet is a beautiful read. I cannot term it as anything else before I begin writing the review and going by the title you would have also guessed that the story in itself is quite unusual. For a first novel, it is not only accomplished but also manages to leave its mark way after you have finished reading it, which is a rare feat. It has its own eeriness and is also ethereal to a large extent and yet it is rooted firmly in reality.
Ida Maclaird is the protagonist of the novel who returns to the strange St. Hauda’s Land. The first time she visited the place, it was for a holiday and now it is for a cure. Her feet are slowly turning to glass. She has returned to see if she can find a cure for her soon crystallizing feet. Midas, the local, a photographer is a recluse. He is the only one who can give Ida the answers she has been searching for.
As readers move into the story, we see how Ida’s life changes with Midas in it – old wounds are opened without any warning, regrets are brought to surface and lives are reconciled. These are happening to almost every character in the book but Ida. Hence, her past never does come out completely and therefore the understanding with the character is restricted.
The relationship between Midas and Ida is beautifully described throughout the book. The reluctant friendship that they start to the awkward love that blooms – it is compellingly realistic. St. Hauda’s land as well seems oddly magical and it is to a large extent. At the core of the story though, Transformation is what is key – both physical (Ida and her glass ailment) and emotional (come to apply to Midas and his situation).
Ali Shaw’s writing is poetic and therefore after a while the reader stops searching for logic. While the fairy tale premise is beautiful, it is the words and the art with which they are projected that makes the book what it is. The Girl with Glass Feet does both – wrenches your heart and also makes you smile at many points in the book. There is ache and also breathless wonder, as they are broken promises too. This is the type of book that everyone must read. It is a silent engrossing novel.
Ali Shaw is a brilliant novelist and I cannot praise him or the book enough. What I can is that I just cannot wait for his second book to be published.