The Girl with Glass Feet is a modern-day ‘grown up’ fairytale by Ali Shaw. The story is unusual and captivating, and is one which will linger with me for a while.
Midas Crook is a lonely photographer who lives on a small fictional island. He believes that allowing people into his life only complicates matters and is haunted by the memories of his dead father. He spends so long analysing his thoughts, actions and feelings and comparing them with his heartless, bully of his father, and fears becoming him. That is, until he meets Ida MacLaird, visiting from the mainland. He’s not necessarily attracted to her, but he finds her interesting and mysterious and wants to know her. Especially, her very odd feet in her big black boots.
As the story progresses, you learn of the transformation that is taking place – Ida is turning to glass, from the feet upwards. Putting trust in Midas, she enlists his local knowledge of the island. Having seen something magical here years before, she believes there must be someone on the island who can enlighten her about her condition.
The story is unusual and beautiful. The description of the magical island, with it’s deadly jelly fish, captivating glowing lights, and it’s herd of flying bull moths is stunning. Ali Shaw’s writing is full of elaborate, beautiful descriptions of the island’s nature. While the fantastic poetic writing is hypnotic, it’s not the easiest to read unless fully concentrating, as it flies backwards and forwards between time, places and people. While it’s a love story, there’s nothing typical about it – it’s a very unconventional love story and it’s not until the very end when you realise it was a love story at all.
There are many characters that become involved with Midas and Ida – people who they search out help from, and friends who become worried for them both along the way. The writer dedicates whole chapters to these supporting characters and you learn about their loves and losses along the way, such as Henry, the man with the bull moths who loved Midas’ mother; Carl, who was in love with Ida’s mother and, subsequently, loves Ida as when he looks at her, he sees her mother; and Midas’ father who is resented for the way he treated Midas and his mother. All the characters are real and believable as they are all flawed in some way and due to past hurt, they struggle to love.
It’s a really beautiful, magical book. A fantastic, poetic fairytale, written itelligently. With the chapters jumping through time, written from different points of view, it does take some concentration and I found myself going back to re-read paragraphs to work out which character the writer was referring to by ‘he’ or ‘she’. But, despite this, I found myself unable to put it down and entranced by the story.
Currently, this particular book is only £1 for download from the Kindle Marketplace…it’s most definitely a bargain at this price!
4 Stars ****