Fat Books & Thin Women

Story Sunday: Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples”

Story Sundays is a weekly feature at Fat Books & Thin Women. Always short stories, always ones available online for free.

Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” could be the centerpiece of a course on how to rewrite fairy tales. (If there aren’t such classes…there should be.) Gaiman takes elements of the vampire myth and Snow White and turns them on each other, narrating the story from the point of view of the woman who, in the Disney story, is the witch. The narrator, married to the King and stepmother to his daughter (who killed her mother during birth), offers up descriptions of the vampire that are soothing to anyone frustrated by the number of sparkling Edward Cullen lookalikes in today’s literature. After the girl latches on to the narrator’s hand and sucks her blood, she writes, “I had been frozen by her, owned and dominated. That scared me, more than the blood she had fed on.”

It becomes the duty of the narrator, the Queen, to kill her vampire stepdaughter, but her attempts to do so are rife with missteps. Gaiman’s story is suffused with sadness, with this woman’s sense of loss over her inability to kill this “girl” who so easily dominates her. After describing what she would do, today, to the girl, had she only known, she writes, “I did not do this thing, and we pay for our mistakes.”

Gaiman’s story is stunning. Not a word is out of place. To put Snow White and vampires into one story is something that never would have occurred to me – but out of these tales he crafts something far more chilling than even an accomplished novel like Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire.

Read “Snow, Glass, Apples” online

 Subscribe to the Fat Books & Thin Women feed



I’m a sucker for re-tellings of fairy tales and I’ve heard a lot about Gaiman but have yet to read anything of his so this seems like a great place to start. Thank you!

Comment by Alley

So I’m a week and a half late on this, but I thought it was great! I also love retold fairy tales and this did not disappoint. It’s so great how he plays on Snow White’s physical description to create something else. I also love the queen’s sense of duty, and how just because she’s a queen doesn’t stop her being a witch. Great choice!

Comment by Jennifer Maurer

awesome! i loved the queen too. like you say, it’s…er…unusual…to see a queen be a witch, AND be shown in a positive light. i loved how gaiman did that. i can’t wait to explore more of his work, i think it’s about time i read “american gods.”

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

I really loved Stardust. It’s much better than the movie, if that’s stopping you.

Comment by Jennifer Maurer

It’s not helping, that’s for sure. I’ll take your word for it and try to find the book…if not now, when I hit up an american library in 11 months. (not that i’m counting.) i’ve heard so many good things about gaiman, i guess it’s not fair for me to avoid him based on a mediocre film.

Comment by Ellen Rhudy

[…] Story Sunday: Neil Gaiman’s “Snow, Glass, Apples” (fatbooks.org) -12.449029 130.855172 Like this:LikeBe the first to like this post. Published: September 10, 2011 Filed Under: publications, reading Tags: alain de botton : Alberto Manguel : Fragile Things : Henry Miller : How Proust Can Change Your Life : Jorge Luis Borges : libraries : Neil Gaiman : Plexus : Robert Dessaix : Status anxiety : Strangers : Taichi Yamada […]

Pingback by reading pile… « the smallest forest

They should do a movie adaptation of this it would be so much better than that snow white and the huntsman and mirror

Comment by Michaela

Listened to the audio version on YT. Bebe Neuwirth is magnificent.

Comment by Kendall

Comments are closed.