Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Snowflakes - Ruth Ware

 

Amazon offers its Hush Collection of six short stories to Prime subscribers as loans, so I decided to read the first story in the collection last night, Ruth Ware's "Snowflakes." The good news is that you can download each of the stories individually; the bad news is that you can only borrow ten items from Prime at a time, so I could only download three of them. In addition to Ware's story, there are stories by Oyinkan Braithwaite, Laura Lippman, Jeffrey Deaver, Allison Gaylin, and Lisa Unger. The only one in the bunch I'm unfamiliar with is Gaylin, and that's probably my fault.

"Snowflakes" is a 21-page short story about a man who evacuates his family to an island because "war" is fast approaching their home and he wants them to be safe. The man's children know that he is a tyrant, but they understand that everything he makes them do is to help ensure their survival. Now, they are pretty much self-sufficient except for the things the man manages to occasionally smuggle in from the mainland. 


The children may not like their father, but they trust him - right up until the point he has them start building a high wall all the way around their compound. They sense that something has suddenly gone very wrong in their little world. And they are correct.

"Snowflakes" is, believe it or not, my first experience with Ruth Ware's writing. The story impresses me as being a well-written one, and I especially enjoyed the way she ended it. I'm always amazed at how much "story" good writers can pack into so few pages. Now I'll look forward to my first Ruth Ware novel. 

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

As an aside, I came across this Thomas Mann quote about readers that confuses me. I'm not sure what he is really saying (which may partially explain why I have never managed to finish The Magic Mountain):

"In books we never find anything but ourselves. Strangely enough, that always gives us great pleasure, and we say the author is a genius."

I think that Mann underestimated readers when he said this, but I'm open to having his meaning explained to me. Any takers?

8 comments:

  1. I've liked some of Ware's novels; haven't loved others. But she's definitely a good author to try.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Which is your favorite...I'm going to add one to my TBR and may as well not start with one of her lesser successes.

      Delete
  2. I never take advantage of all that Prime has to offer. Need to check this out. Didn't know Ruth Ware had this short story.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I forget to take advantage of all the offers sometimes, too. Prime is my favorite thing about Amazon. I've found their movies to be even better than those offered by Netflix, for instance, and all the free books and magazines are way more than I can handle.

      Delete
  3. Ware has been up and down for me. On the Mann quote--yes, we tend to admire those who agree with us, but in literature, we are also opened up to different opinions which may not change our views immediately, but can give us time to revise and expand our views.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That was kind of what I was thinking about the Mann quote, too. I think that readers are more open to an evolution of opinions than Mann is giving them credit for here. I do agree with him that we are going to like authors, at least initially, who share our world-view, but over time that view will certainly change. I know that mine has.

      Delete
    2. Fiction makes it easier to understand another's point of view, does't it? Fiction then makes me do research for facts--and facts sometimes surprise me. I like the term you use, Sam. Our views evolve as we learn and broaden our horizons.

      Delete
    3. I really notice that kind of "evolution" when reading fiction from poorer countries whose authors I would have been unlikely to ever even hearing of in the past. I really like the way so many minority points of view are being published nowadays.

      Delete