The Literary Horizon: Six-Gun Snow White

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Six-Gun Snow White by Catherynne M. Valente

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From New York Times bestselling author Catherynne M. Valente comes a brilliant reinvention of one the best known fairy tales of all time. In the novella Six-Gun Snow White, Valente transports the title’s heroine to a masterfully evoked Old West where Coyote is just as likely to be found as the seven dwarves.

A plain-spoken, appealing narrator relates the history of her parents–a Nevada silver baron who forced the Crow people to give up one of their most beautiful daughters, Gun That Sings, in marriage to him. With her mother’s death in childbirth, so begins a heroine’s tale, equal parts heartbreak and strength. This girl has been born into a world with no place for a half-native, half-white child. After being hidden for years, a very wicked stepmother finally gifts her with the name Snow White, referring to the pale skin she will never have. Filled with fascinating glimpses through the fabled looking glass and a close-up look at hard living in the gritty gun-slinging West, readers will be enchanted by this story at once familiar and entirely new.

via Amazon

Racebent fairy tales explicitly examining oppression? Yes and please! Disney’s forthcoming Frozen is dipping into new but still very white territory, so I’ve been particularly feeling the need for people of color in fairy tales across the board. (And so has tumblr.) Jodie and I actually want to read this as part of a project we’re currently putting together, but even if we weren’t, I’d want to pick this novella up. The price for a physical copy is a bit steep at forty bucks (I’m sure it’s a lovely edition, though!), but, luckily, there’s a Kindle edition!

Benjamin Wald at SFRevu enjoyed Valente’s exploration of abusive families, but found the story a little compressed as a novella. Victoria De Swann’s spoileriffic review at The Los Angeles Review of Books is absolutely glowing. KT Davies at SFcrowsnest found it layered and rewarding. CR Fricke at Something to Read For the Train enjoyed it as a tale of survival after abuse.

Six-Gun Snow White was published on February 28, 2013.

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