It’s been a while since we introduced you to a new member of the Malvern team—so say hello to the charming and cheerful Mr. F, who worked as a barista for years before we had the good sense to steal him away from the world of beans. He’s an extraordinarily talented writer and the author of one of our bestselling titles (nope, that’s not him in the bunny suit). F. recommends you stop by the bookstore and pick up a copy of Snowman Snowman: Fables and Fantasies, by one of our favorite writers, the legendary Janet Frame. Here’s what he has to say…
The texture of Janet Frame’s writing, often reminiscent of Joyce and the South American Clarice Lispector, can at times be a little thick, let’s face it, but the poetry in her language is always intact. This book compiles what are considered to be Frame’s ‘stories of the fantastic,’ in the faerie tale tradition of the dark and the morbid.
The first half of the book is the novella length title story, “Snowman Snowman,” in which our narrator is (did you guess?) a snowman! For a ‘serious reader’ this sounds like pish-posh cheap trickery, but what happens here is a moving portrait both about a family and mortality.
Outside a home in New Zealand, the only child of the Dincer family, Rosemary, makes a snowman the beginning of one winter. At first confused about his existence, the snowman, through the progression of the story, learns more about not only himself, but also of humans and life on earth. His guide immediately becomes the Perpetual Snowflake, which hangs on the windowsill of the Dincer house. This is no joke, and it’s actually quite serious. The Perpetual Snowflake contains the wisdom of the cosmos and the ages. Simply put, the Perpetual Snowflake is the Jiminy Cricket character of the story. Through the Perpetual Snowflake, the snowman and the reader are both in for quite an existential ride.
The latter half of the book is made up mostly of short-short stories, some of them a page long. They contain sheep on their way to the slaughter-house, bees that warn the changes of time, Dust and Daylight taking a holiday together.
Frame’s imagination and poetry here are in top form. A great read for the winter, or any season.