Monday, May 14, 2012

REVIEW: Glaciers, by Alexis M. Smith

Glaciers, by Alexis M. Smith. Published 2012 by Tin House Books. ISBN 9781935639206.

Glaciers is a quiet, lovely little book from writer Alexis M. Smith and Tin House Books, a small publisher of off-the-beaten path novels. This book tells the story of Isabel, a 20-something archivist who likes vintage clothes and a quiet boy named Spoke, who works down the hall from her. The book follows a single day in her life, a day in which she goes to work, buys a beautiful dress and dreams of wearing it at a party for the boy she likes.

Set in Portland, Oregon, the book traverses the backwaters of Isabel's memories of growing up in Alaska, her parents, and her present-day life going between a quiet office, a low-key apartment and the store with the old clothes she loves so much. She's a dreamer; she collects postcards and ephemera and has a postcard picture of Amsterdam she found in a junk store:
Walking home, she thinks Amsterdam must be a lot like Portland. A slick fog of a city in the winter, drenched in itself. In the spring and summer: leafy, undulating green, humming with bicycles, breeze-borne seeds whirling by like tiny white galaxies. And in the early glorious days of fall, she thinks, looking around her, chill mist in the mornings, bright sunshine and halos of gold and amber for every tree.
Smith gives us a very atmospheric book drenched in itself, in its poetic imagery and memory-rich musings. The plot isn't anything much; a girl goes to work, buys a dress, pines for a boy. But it's a gem of a book anyway, beautifully written and unforgettable in its own way. It's the perfect book for a quiet afternoon, an indulgence with a cup of tea, a little marvel like an old ring that catches the light and makes rainbows on the ceiling.

Rating: BUY

Buy it online at Powell's:
I'm a Powell's partner and receive a small commission on sales. 
 
FTC Disclosure: I did not receive this book for review.

5 comments:

bookspersonally said...

Sounds lovely, Marie! The excerpt is gorgeous, and I adore your description of it being like an antique ring reflecting the light.

bermudaonion said...

I've found that I do need plot in my books, but you've made this one sound awfully inviting.

Audra said...

Oooh, this one sounds very good! I'm definitely adding to my TBR -- You've sold me!

Aarti said...

I just got back from Portland last night and LOVED the city. This sounds like a great book for me to read when I want to remember how enjoyable my time there was :-)

pburt said...

I am so glad you enjoyed this book as much as I did. It is such a jewel of a book.