“I like to think of this story as a virus. Once you’ve read it, you may never be able to read the original story in the same way again.”
Gaiman, Neil. “Smoke and Mirrors.”
The very title of a miscellanea, Smoke and Mirrors, warns its future readers: everything known earlier will be divergent this time. It is better to be prepared beforehand that the habitual and familiar stereotypes are going to appear in a quite different form. In these short stories, there are many reflections of reality. However, the author uses works of famous writers, fairy tales, songs, legends, biblical parables, and other sources for inspiration. Apparently, it will be interesting not only to the common reader, but also to a versed scholar, due to the fact the book “swarms” with various myth types, archetypes, and intertextual allusions.
Consequently, today I would like to pay your attention to one of the narratives that I have liked the most. I am speaking about a short novel titled Snow. Glass. Apples. Probably to each of us the life description of Snowwhite is well-known since childhood due to the colorful animated cartoon films by Disney. As you presumably remember, it is a pitiful story about a young girl whose flint-hearted stepmother causes manifold mishaps in order to hound our heroine to death. The narrator of this story is the stepmother herself, who appeared before readers as a victim of circumstances and love at first sight. Even in the most horrifying nightmare, that had been overcoming a poor queen lately; she could not imagine such a startling succession of events.
Another character, we have got here, is a stepdaughter, who was a rather nice and beautiful little girl at the beginning. Her smooth skin was unblemished and perfectly white like first snow that had fallen in the early winter. “Her eyes were black as coal, black as her hair; her lips were redder than blood” (Gaiman, 470). It seemed like mice and men froze from terror, especially when they saw her little sharp teeth. There was a talk that this innocent child (appearances are deceptive at times) had killed her mother. And there were not a lot of brave men ready to put in doubt the rumors.
In the interim, a lofty prince was wondering somewhere in the woods. Although he was very young, noblemen at his court asserted that our hero was an unsurpassed noble warrior and square shooter. In battles, he demonstrated courage and intrepidity. If you had had an opportunity to participate in one of that time wars, you would certainly have noticed our young man in the first ranks. Furthermore, he had a rather queer predilection that made him peculiar and dissimilar to all others. The regent was not indifferent to cool-blooded females, and, believe me, it is not just a pun, as a matter of fact, he was a necrophile.
Thrilled? And it gets better and better as it goes on. I feel regret that I have not read this book much earlier. It is a pity I have already read it. I faithfully grudge those readers who are only going to get acquainted with Gaiman’s writing. Therefore, have a good time and enjoy your reading!