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The Girl with Glass Feet [Paperback]

Ali Shaw
3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

1 Jan 2010
A novel to fall in love with - for anyone who loved the escapism of "The Time Traveller's Wife" and "The Memory Keeper's Daughter". A mysterious metamorphosis has taken hold of Ida MacLaird - she is slowly turning into glass. Fragile and determined to find a cure, she returns to the strange, enchanted island where she believes the transformation began, in search of reclusive Henry Fuwa, the one man who might just be able to help...Instead she meets Midas Crook, and another transformation begins: as Midas helps Ida come to terms with her condition, they fall in love. What they need most is time - and time is slipping away fast.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Atlantic Books (1 Jan 2010)
  • Language: Unknown
  • ISBN-10: 1843549204
  • ISBN-13: 978-1843549208
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (111 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 60,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"'Magical' Guardian 'Ali Shaw has written a rare orchid of a book, beautiful and eccentric and exquisitely sad' Patrick Ness 'Shaw has worked the great tradition of European fairy tales and come up with an ingenious story... A magical fable of fate and resignation.' Guardian 'Virtually weightless in execution... Gorgeously written, its unsentimental confrontation with mortality belies its whimsical surfaces.' Metro 'A haunting and magical tale... Ali Shaw pulls it off in dazzling style, spinning an unforgettable story so vividly described that the reader is only too willing to suspend disbelief in order to be transported into his sad and lovely world.' Aberdeen Press and Journal 'The Girl with Glass Feet is not just special - it's remarkable... [This] debut novel conjures up the extraordinary and fantastic, yet places it firmly in our digital world... It's a very visual novel - readers who enjoy using their imagination will adore it.' Oxford Times"

About the Author

Ali Shaw was born in 1982 and grew up in a small town in Dorset. He graduated from Lancaster University with a first class degree in English Literature and has since worked as a bookseller and at Oxford's Bodleian Library. He is currently writing his second novel.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
53 of 54 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange, moving and brilliant 16 Aug 2010
By Kat
I thought this was an unusual story that was beautifully written and stayed with me long after I'd finished it. I do agree in part with some of the reviews but the book is described as a fairy story for adults and it is just that. I found Ida's condition and the random elements of magic and mystery connected to the Islands perfectly in keeping with the whole story. I didn't feel any need to question them or expect an explanation. As a first novel I thought it was exceptional and I enjoyed it far more than many stories I've read by more established and experienced authors who, in my opinion, excel in writing ability but don't necessarily have the same imagination to create such a strange and beautiful story. Read it and make your own mind up, but definitely an author to watch out for.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A Frosty Fairy Tale 27 July 2010
By Isola
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
"The Girl with the Glass Feet" is a grown up, European fairy tale set on a fictional northern archipelago where nature asserts itself in strange ways. Although a magical tale, the story is modern, containing real life experiences. I believe it's Ali Shaw's debut novel after his English Lit. degree.

I don't think I was sufficiently in touch with my imagination the first time I read this book - and after a second read I still can't connect with miniature flying cattle!! However, this is a hypnotic novel with an atmosphere all of its own and Shaw writes finely honed prose. His writing is very English and the story is told at a gentle pace. I think it's a young person's read, but that could be because the author himself is only in his twenties.

Exuberant Ida MacLaird, from the mainland, meets an introverted photographer, Midas Crook who was born and bred on St. Hauda's. She tries to rescue Midas from the past and he tries to rescue Ida from the future. If you changed her condition to an earthly incurable desease, I feel the story would stand alone - without the flying cattle!

But this is an imaginitive first novel full of love, but also the power, limitations and consequences of love. Although only around 300 pages it isn't an easy, or even a comfortable read at times, but it is hauntingly beautiful when Shaw paints his fictional setting in those cold Nordic hues.

I found most of the characters interesting as they were flawed; not all likable, although they were engaging - but oh how the author makes the women suffer! I also think there must be 'something' in the names of the progtagonists, 'Midas' & 'Ida' besides touch - as her name is within his, but I didn't work it out.

For me, Shaw's debut novel lacks experience, but is rich in invention; set to improve.
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45 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An accomplished and poetic debut novel 22 May 2009
'The Girl with Glass Feet' is an accomplished and beautifully written first novel. The snowbound archipelago of St Hauda's Land is poetically rendered and elements of fantasy or magical realism are effectvely counterpointed by a keen photographer's eye for naturalistic detail and a well judged sense of psychological realism.
The fantastical nature of Ida MacLaird's predicament is brought to life by the quality of the writing and an admirable attention to anatomical detail, making suspension of disbelief surprisingly easy. This is some achievement and a major strength of the book. Ali Shaw makes you believe in and care about his characters, as a result this is a moving and emotionally satisfying read.
In some ways the whole novel is an extended poem to a landscape that is both real and fantastical and echoes with it's character's past and present, their potential and their frozen emotional states. Ida's presence is transformative, most particularly for Midas, just as she herself is transformed in a terrible and tragic way.
At times along the way, the merging of reality and fantasy does throw up the odd inconsistency and unanswered question. But then, as Ian McCulloch once said when asked about his lyrics, "Who wants to explain poetry?"
Read it and enjoy.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Magical and mystical story for adults 26 Sep 2011
By Alison TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Kindle Edition
This is such an unusual book and although it is one that I enjoyed overall, it may be somewhat of an acquired taste. Sometimes I felt confused and irritated by the strangeness and other times I was charmed and fascinated. It feels strangely disconnected from time and place but then is rudely brought back to modern day by the mention of mobile phones etc. I often thought there were hidden meanings that I was just missing and that if you saw through the words there was some other imagery or meaning. I couldn't get it though, maybe it wasn't there?!

The text is very poetic and there are often very beautiful descriptions, it does interrupt the flow of the story though and sometimes I felt a little frustrated wanting to skip read some of it. I don't tend to read books more than once, but this is probably one that would benefit from a more careful second read.

I would recommend this book as a piece of unusual contemporary fiction to readers that like to try something different.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Give in to the magic 14 Mar 2011
Format:Kindle Edition
As someone who generally avoids books labelled 'fantasy' or 'fairytale', I had some misgivings about a novel whose blurb describes a girl turning to glass. However, thanks to Ali Shaw's vivid depiction of the mythical St Hauda's Land (which I pictured as one of the more remote Scottish islands) and the engaging characters at the chilly heart of the story, I was easily able to suspend my disbelief and get swept up in the magic.

Following a mysteriously troubled childhood, Midas Crook exists as if he were the one made of glass - shielding himself from human interaction in his isolated cottage, and only engaging with the world from the safety of behind his camera lens. Until, that is, he meets island visitor Ida MacLaird, who shakes him out of his solitude. Ida is warm, passionate and full of life, but her strange condition - steadily turning to glass from the toes up - threatens to stop her in her tracks.

Together, this strange pair embark on a quest to find a cure for the spreading glass. This leads them to the eccentric Henry Fuwa, a man who breeds mythical creatures and holds the key to the secrets of the island - including some uncomfortable truths about Midas' own family.

I found this a capitvating read that took me to another world: although elements of it are pure fantasy, the feelings of love and loss it evokes are firmly rooted in reality. It only loses one star for a few loose ends (Henry's moth-winged cattle initially seemed to have huge significance, but that plot line ultimately fizzled out) and for the slightly jarring character of Denver, an overly precocious child.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful book!
Beautiful book, in immaculate condition - thought it was an amazing read and love the silver edging to the pages too!
Published 3 months ago by mandy killick
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful story
This book was an absolute pleasure to read. The story is captivating and written quite well. It was slightly unusual as you can tell from the title but the events, characters and... Read more
Published 3 months ago by GoldDragonFly
5.0 out of 5 stars Lovely, Magical Book!
Absolutely loved reading this fantastical tale and just couldn't put it down! Really enjoyed the fusion of fantasy and reality and timeless fairy-tale quality of this moving &... Read more
Published 3 months ago by G
5.0 out of 5 stars Addicted by page three!!
A beautiful love story, mystery, fantasy for all ages. Really imaginative and vibrant. The characters, despite their very weird circumstances, were totally believable. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kea Michelle
5.0 out of 5 stars good
Great book, I am a massive bookworm so I love all books but I would definitely recommend this book to my friends and family.
Published 5 months ago by becccci
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant Book!
This is an astonishing read, surprises around every corner and wonderfully written. I thought I was going to be put off by the slightly other worldly aspects but surprisingly not. Read more
Published 6 months ago by BalintoreBooks
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb writing and intriguing
I thought from the write up that this would be similar to The Night Circus but the characters had more depth - a really unusual story which unbelievably was believable!
Published 6 months ago by A. Copp
3.0 out of 5 stars Good base ideas, didn't hold together well.
I was really looking forward to this book and enjoyed the main ideas for a story, however overall, I found it disappointing. Read more
Published 7 months ago by E. Sharp
5.0 out of 5 stars weird but lovely
touchingly weird book of strange people in a strange island ,superb storyline of disjointed lives and a love that lasts
Published 7 months ago by crapnurse
2.0 out of 5 stars It was OK
I just couldn't get into this story, still haven't finished reading it, although this is just my own taste in stories, this could be a good book to anyone else.
Published 7 months ago by Debra
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