book cover of The Glamour of the Snow

The Glamour of the Snow

(1912)
A Novella by

 
 
Though he was a writer for all seasons, the stories I like best usually have a chill wind running through them. My favourite is one of his lesser known tales, from 1912: The Glamour of the Snow.It's set in the Alps, one of Blackwood's favourite locations, and tells of a writer's fatal attraction to a ghostly ice-skater whom he encounters on a deserted rink at night. It opens with a sentence that could pass as a summary of the whole Blackwood project: "Hibbert, always conscious of two worlds, was in this mountain village, conscious of three ..." There's the world of the wealthy English tourist, the patronisingly observed "peasant world" and "this other - which he could only call the world of Nature". Rarely can a capital letter have carried such freight: Blackwood's Nature isn't pastoral but a wild and dangerous other, which rears up in his stories to destroy the minds of those who try to get too close to it.Encounters with the uncanny in Blackwood's work are often signalled by upwards movement. In The Wendigo, a doomed tracker is heard screaming from the treetops, while the first sign of anything sinister in The Willows is an upward ripple of the stems. In The Glamour of the Snow it's the writer's own imagination that lures him out of the brightly lit ski resort and up the mountains, higher than anyone has ever gone before, in pursuit of the enchantress he has conjured out of the play of shadows and wind.Defiance of gravity continually undermines the common view, that "Nature ... is both blind and automatic". Blackwood's stories assert a deeper reality which, like the spectral skater, is always just "a little farther on, a little higher" than humans can grasp.I find it hard to work out why I find The Glamour of the Snow so alluring, as it's a simple story in which it is demonstrated that even a storyteller as slick as Blackwood was at a loss to find more than one English word for snow.But he understands compulsion better than any other writer I know. And the story is big enough to keep changing its meaning. I read it first as a ghost story, then as an account of the maddening power of storytelling. In the era of global warming, it has morphed - along with so much of Blackwood's work - into an eco-fable about the ravishing remorselessness of nature. Good to read by electric light, with curtains drawn.

Genre: Paranormal Romance

Used availability for Algernon Blackwood's The Glamour of the Snow

Paperback Editions

July 2019 : Paperback
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Title: The Glamour of the Snow
Author(s): Algernon Blackwood
ISBN: 1-08-010217-5 / 978-1-08-010217-4
Publisher: Independently Published
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