Monday, July 6, 2009

Snow, Glass, Apples by Neil Gaiman

It's time for Short Story Monday again, and this week I've taken a giant step outside my comfort zone! To set this up...a couple of weeks ago I wrote a Sunday Salon post titled Audiobooks: When Writers Read. This sparked a great discussion about authors narrating their own work. Neil Gaiman was cited more than once as being an outstanding reader. I've never read Gaiman, and science fiction/fantasy/horror is far from my normal literary fare. Even Harry Potter was a stretch! I read the first book aloud to my children, but after that they were on their own. Nonetheless, I became curious about Gaiman's work.

A few days later, Claire at Paperback Reader posted a review of Gaiman's short story "Snow, Glass, Apples". Since she was kind enough to post this link to the story, I decided to read it.

"Snow, Glass, Apples" has all the elements of a classic Snow White tale - a princess, a stepmother, apples, dwarfs, a magic mirror, and a prince. Gaiman, however, adds a few twists. Some blood, a vampire, snow, get the picture! Plus, the story is told from the perspective of the stepmother.

Here are a few quotes from the story:

"Her eyes were black as coal, black as her hair; her lips were redder than blood. She looked up at me and smiled. Her teeth seemed sharp, even then, in the lamplight."

"The years passed by slowly, and my people claimed that I ruled them with wisdom. The heart still hung above my bed, pulsing gently in the night. If there were any that mourned the child, I saw no evidence: she was a thing of terror, back then, and they believed themselves well rid of her."

"I saw one snowflake land upon her white cheek, and remain there without melting."

This was an enjoyable departure from my Norton Book of America Short Stories and The Best American Short Stories of the Century. While it didn't exactly convert me into a fantasy fan, I'll certainly consider reading more of Gaiman's work...especially if it just drops into my lap like this story did.

Read more Short Story Monday posts, or leave a link to yours, at The Book Mine Set.


  1. This was an interesting post to read. I like how you took us through the steps as to why you read this short story. Isn't it funny how our reading can take us in so many directions? I love the twist that Gaiman gave this story. Snow White sounds like such a cold-blooded cruel girl!!! I think I'm going to have to click on that link myself and read this one too!! Thanks :)

  2. That line about the snowflake not melting...chills. I haven't delved into this genre but your review of this story makes me think I need to be a little more adventurous in my reading.

  3. Staci - I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this post! The story of how the story found its way to me seemed almost as interesting as the story itself. I hope you get a chance to read it - it's sure not Disney!

    BookPsmith - Let's just say this story was an experience - lol! I guess there's a time and place for adventure, and this just seemed like the time for mine.

  4. I too have never read Neil Gaiman ... but feel like I should. I like the title to this story ... I didn't make the connection until you pointed it out. I love when authors reimagine classic stories. Good for you for stepping outside your comfort zone!

  5. This is way out of my comfort zone as well. However, since you were so brave in reading and reviewing it, I will give it a go too. Thanks for the link!

    I actually read the first Harry Potter book with my niece and quite liked it for a change a pace. However, I read book two and found it quite repetitious.

  6. Jenners - I like those 're-imagined ' classics, too...and this one has quite a twist!

    Teddy Rose - Every now and then I like to step out of that comfort zone. This one was fun.

  7. Hi JoAnn, I am glad that you gave Neil Gaiman and this story a chance, and that you enjoyed it. Blogging (and book groups, for that matter) should open us up to new books and new genres that normally aren't our own choices. My reading is quite eclectic and I hope to bring other things to your attention (and vice versa) in the future.
    If you would like to read further re-imagined classic fairy tales then I cannot recommend Angela Carter's The Bloody Chamber highly enough.

  8. Thankyou for your kind words on my blog, hubby is much better but his father's progress is much slower, but we continue to pray.

  9. I've given Gaiman chance after chance and I just can't appreciate him more than "meh."

  10. Paperback Reader - Since blogging, I've started reading short stories (for the first time since high school), sampled several graphic novels, and now even some fantasy! Thanks for mentioning Angela Carter. I've never read her, but have seen several reviews and gotten curious about her work.

    Zetor - So glad to hear your husband is better, and will continue to keep his father's recovery in our prayers.

    John Mutford - I don't think Gaiman will ever be a favorite, but I am glad to have at least sampled some of his writing.

  11. Off topic, how are you finding Enchanted April? I'm familiar with the play.

    I'll come back to Gaiman, who is fantastic!, after I read the short. Thanks for pointing it out.

  12. Stageandcanvas - I am enjoying The Enchanted April very much. It's funny, but I'm reading slowly and in small sections to make it last longer!


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