“Snow” by Aine Greaney, is a complex look on the simple life of a woman forced to move back in with her ailing and bitter father. Throughout the story, Greaney’s Irish heritage is displayed through her solid grasp of dialect, which is delightful and fascinating. The story is structured with equal attention to present and past, and Greaney’s impressive control of pacing is highlighted through her subtle, yet important, flashbacks.
The dialect in “Snow” is spot on, and used sparingly, but aptly. The reader gets a true sense of the “Irish way” without being overwhelmed by its foreignness. She also makes the reader interpret what the character means and say, which is an added challenge, but also a pleasure. Along with this, Greaney pares her dialect with minimalistic but powerful prose. Phrases like, “… a flash of pinkie ring, a jingle of pocket change,” add to the setting with a subtle, crafted charm.
Some interesting points are brought up within the short story, like, letting one’s accent return for the comfort of others. Our narrator, Dolores, explains that it took no time in becoming re-acquainted with her Irish accent, her native expressions, because it was easier for the people she encounters. Also, the concept of actually leaving her life in New York is interesting—she mentions at one point, looking on her life in the city, that it seems more and more like it is becoming someone else’s. Which is also brought up in terms of memory. She explains, “Even for those parts I do claim, half of them are borrowed or overheard or just imagined.” The idea of displacement is readily present.
Greaney’s take on such a deceptively simple concept is refreshing as well as admirable. She really shows her mastery of plot-pacing, because the short story feels much longer in the sense that the reader comes away knowing a good deal about the story, more so than is usual for a short story. Her characters are interested and well rendered. This is one of those rare stories that seem to have a life of its own, beyond the boundaries of its pages.
Reviewed by M.B Sellers
Publisher: Pixel Hall Press
Publication date: 06/14/14