5.0 out of 5 stars Post Modernism at its best
EM Forster asked in his famous Aspects of the Novel why can't the novel invent a form less rigid and more suitable to its genius. I agree. So much of what is served up these days to the public is a waste of time and obviously exists simply for commercial purposes. Not Snow White. Here we have real literature with a capital L and here we have real imagination too. Based on...
Published on May 15 2003 by Bernard M. Patten
3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of hea-... er... mind.
Admittedly, I originally read this book in highschool for my final English paper, and immediately hated it. It's disjunct, occasionally hard to follow and for a seventeen year old, painfully difficult to read. But I stuck with it, and reread it. And reread it again, and again and again and again. And with every reread I understood more and more.
Published on May 3 2010 by A. Gatecliff
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3.0 out of 5 stars Not for the faint of hea-... er... mind.,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)Admittedly, I originally read this book in highschool for my final English paper, and immediately hated it. It's disjunct, occasionally hard to follow and for a seventeen year old, painfully difficult to read. But I stuck with it, and reread it. And reread it again, and again and again and again. And with every reread I understood more and more.
This isn't your four year old cousins version of Snow White, nor is it some flippant, laugh-out-loud version of Snow White either. This is the Snow White meant for someone who has a knowledge of American culture and politics from the 1950's and 60's; for someone who understands satire and cultural critic but mostly for someone who understands and appreciates wit.
Despite what other reviewers have said, Barthelme's Snow White is actually a very good read, and well worth it as well. But be forewarned it will probably take a few reads to really appreciate it. Barthelme has a unique writing style, and is an often over-looked post-modern writer, and worth your time. And I can happily say, a number of years later and more rereads than I care to remember, I understand the majority of Snow White now.
4.0 out of 5 stars Definitely not Walt Disney,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)I have to admit that it took me quite some time to get into this version of _Snow White_. Batheleme's writing seemed too clever, too facile, too concerned with word play, too designed for the intellectual reader (not to be confused with the intelligent reader). I started to connect, but not entirely, with the far from fairy tale-like characters, who were more like people out of a Dashiell Hammett crime novel. Snow White, a sexy, femme fatale, with long black hair and a body that does not quit. Paul, hardly anyone's idea of a Prince Charming. He seemed incapable of rescuing her. The seven men with whom Snow White lived--who were they? No one could possibly believe that Snow White was merely their housekeeper. Jane, sort of, but not quite a wicked stepmother type, who could mix a mean cocktail.
Batrthelme's cynical, fractured fairy tale is kind of fun, inventively written and diverting, but loveable and warmhearted? Absolutely not!
5.0 out of 5 stars Post Modernism at its best,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)EM Forster asked in his famous Aspects of the Novel why can't the novel invent a form less rigid and more suitable to its genius. I agree. So much of what is served up these days to the public is a waste of time and obviously exists simply for commercial purposes. Not Snow White. Here we have real literature with a capital L and here we have real imagination too. Based on the original tale, alert readers will love how a master writer converts the simple to the complex, the silly to the profound, and yet keeps us entertained as he goes. Oh, I know in this democratic era questions of elitism are de trop. But so what? Go ahead and read an elitist book. It won't hurt and you will have a lot of fun in the process.
4.0 out of 5 stars Crazy man, crazy!,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)This is one of those books that it's easy to get a lot from, and leaves you with endless questions as well. It's one that makes you laugh out loud and makes you say "Huh?" an awful lot.
One of the many things I enjoyed about this book is the interweaving of elements from the original tale and the Disney version (Heigh-ho!) The rhythmn of the narrative almost made me snap my fingers along to the beat. And the originality within a retold story put me in mind of Anne Sexton's work with fairy tales, but with a decidedly comic view.
With layer upon layer (which I can't seem to get enough of) that extends from the solidarity of modern relationships to the questions of "How unique is the American culture? Can it be preserved?" I saw many examples where exploration is encouraged.
But many many many questions linger. First and foremost: Who is the narrator? More like: Which is the narrator? All of the "seven dwarfs", or just one? Are the all facets of one person? I could really go on all day.
This is truly a book worthy of a second, third, and fourth read. There is just too much for my little mind to grasp at once, but definately a novel that entertains as well as, (and I hate this phrase but...) "makes you think."
4.0 out of 5 stars Unsure but interesting nonetheless,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)This tale, aside from retelling the Snow White fable, is chalk full of references to the Frog Prince, Robin Hood, and Tarzan. This, along with depicting the reaction to late '60's mentalities and theories (structuralism, socialism--hippy communalism, deconstructionism, and so forth), makes for a disjointed narrative. Of course, that is the point. Midway through the novel I realized that, as one reviewer wrote, Burroughs's cut-up method might have been used, for one cannot be sure when the events in the novel take place--in what order. Yet with Burroughs one is sure of this, with Barthelme, framing the society in which he wrote, it is intentional that one is not quite sure when, or even what, is happening. And with all of Barthelme's works, this is full of satire and black humor.
5.0 out of 5 stars Clueless,
By A Customer
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)I love satire, so I thought I would love this book. I think... it is the work of a genius. But (and those of you who havewritten to me saying I am a literary snob will love the next part)beyond that, I am clueless!
I am not being flippant. I know you'llall laugh (and that's okay), but really, I thought Finegan's Wake waseasier than this!
5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite fiction book,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)Donald Barthelme was a genius. This delicious book is inventive and playful yet feeling. I was dabbling in fiction writing myself until I discovered that Barthelme was already publishing books in the style I was writing in. I felt like this book was about me.
5.0 out of 5 stars A painfully good read.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)David Barthelme's Snow White, unlike some other specimens of avant-garde fiction, never loses its grip on the plot or the emotions of its characters in favor of retaining its experimental rhythms. One is able to feel sympathy for the many long-suffering dwarves, hope for the romantic leads, and an appropriate sense of the apalling regarding the villains, and still appreciate the puns and absurdities Barthelme was so adept at creating. At first glance, readers of more mainstream fiction might be put off by the seemingly random leaps between viewpoints and styles. However, on closer inspection, one finds a distinct pattern and a remarkable fullness to the prose. Not to mention the often tremendously funny, yes laugh-out-loud funny, episodes sprinkled throughout the book. By the time one reaches the last, very short, chapter, one sees that every line has been carefully crafted to reach this conclusion. It has become inevitable. I would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in adult faerie tales, experimental fiction, or anyone seeking a diverting, off the beaten path, change of pace from the cookie cutter junk so many authors now pass off as great literature.
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the great treasures of modern fiction.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)I first read _Snow White_ some time in the '80s, and somehow was unmoved by the wit, the irony, the fantastic stylistic control. Then for some reason I started reading a section of it aloud to a friend, and fell in love with it. Each brief chapter has its own style, its own didactic purpose, and most of all its own mad humor. Barthelme is a worthy companion of Calvino (_If On a Winter's Night a Traveller_) in reinventing comic fiction
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1.0 out of 5 stars Don't Waste Your Time,
This review is from: Snow White (Paperback)From the reviews I had read about this book, it was supposed to be an intellectual, highly appealing and enchanting updated version of a classic children's story in which the dwarves are not really dwarves but rather sexually charged men who each take their turns having sex with Snow White in the shower (and only the shower, never in a bed). Snow White is seeking her Prince Charming, whose name is Paul. The wicked stepmother, whose name is Jane, is out to get Snow White. And one of the "dwarves", Bill, doesn't like to be touched...by anyone. Other than that, there wasn't much else I understood about this book. It was a very disjointed book. The writing was stilted and had the feel of a foreigner speaking in a second language. The conversations were completely unrealistic and the voices in my head, while reading, kept on speaking in a mechanical drone; no expression or hint of emotions. Really, really, really, wasn't worth the three evenings I spent reading it. I would be interested in knowing if anyone else has read and understood this book, but I certainly would not recommend purchasing it!
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Snow White by Donald Barthelme (Paperback - May 30 1996)
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