When the seniors were checked out, we still had to stay at the school for graduation rehearsal. Since rehearsal was an hour away, I went to the public library (which is a two minute walk from the school, and the school library was not checking books out anymore) and picked out one of the new books. The book I picked up was “The Girl with Glass Feet” by Ali Shaw. The cover really got to me; a pale blue/greenish cover with black trees, vines, birds and flowers. It looked mysterious, and when I opened it to skim the summary, I decided I would get it.
Once I started, it didn’t take me long to be completely absorbed.
The story describes a man (boy?) who is afraid of touch, and is a black and white photographer. He meets a girl while on a walk to take photos, and instantly, he is confounded by her boots (of all things). Her boots are too large for her tiny, tiny frame. Midas, the man, later learns that Ida has come back the the island, St. Hauda’s Land, to find a cure for her feet, both of which have slowly started to turn into clear, beautiful glass. Midas slowly starts to fall in love with this doomed girl, and together, they try to find a cure for her feet. Along the way, they meet Henry Fuwu (who Ida has met once, on her first visit to the island) who is obsessed with his herd of moth-winged bulls (which are exactly what they sound like; tiny bovines with translucent wings), Denver, Midas’ best friend’s daughter, a little girl who’s mother died, who draws narwhals pulling carriages with queens and gives advice to Midas about the thoughts in the back of his mind, Carl Mausen, who was tragically in love with Ida’s mother, and makes him do terrible things to Ida for the sake of “love”, and with Carl Mausen, Emiliana Stallows, married to the richest man of the island, and who also claims to know the cure for Ida’s condition. All of the characters come alive in Ali Shaw’s first novel, in a hauntingly beautiful land, where the citizens are mistrustful of anyone new, and who all hold their own secret lives.
I was so caught up in this book, the awkward tension between the main characters made me smirk, the moth-winged bovine giving birth to a tiny, tiny specimen made me smile, and the mysterious glass creeping up Ida’s legs made me afraid, and my own legs itched and went numb with sympathy. I highly recommend reading this book to find out what becomes of Midas and Ida’s precarious relationship.