Snow, Glass, Apples
If I hadn't declared enough that I love Neil Gaiman, then I will reiterate: I love Neil Gaiman. He rocks my world.
The short story Snow, Glass, Apples is a retelling of the beloved children's tale, Snow White and The Seven Dwarfs, from the point of view of Snow White's wicked stepmother-queen. The narrative is a flashback, commencing from the story of how the Wicked Stepmother-Queen met Snow White's father, the King, telling how their courtship progressed and how everything culminated to their wedding, and of course, recounting their life in the castle, and all else that transpired thereafter.
More than the simple and candid writing, I enjoyed how Neil Gaiman gave a perverted and yet, deeply piquant and imagery-provoking twist to the fairy tale that every child – especially the princess-loving little girls, with their standard princess prototype in mind – has grown to love. Oh, all the major characters were present, all the important objects – mirror, apples in a basket, poison – were there, but Neil Gaiman deftly and brilliantly turned everything around in such a way that, well, it just blew me away. Suffice it to say that after reading this short story, one may never look at Snow White – or the seven dwarfs, who were but mere secondary characters in this retelling – the same way ever again. In the same vein, the Wicked Stepmother-Queen may just turn out to be not so wicked, after all.
The short story is included in Smoke and Mirrors, one of Neil Gaiman's short story compendiums. Apples, anyone? :)