Tuesday, April 18, 2006

As Simple As Snow by Gregory Galloway

In what feels like a literary homage to the film “Donnie Darko,” this coming-of-age novel is sneaky, dark and just a little elusive. It’s got a great first line: “Anna Cayne had moved here in August, just before our sophomore year in high school, but by February she had, one by one, killed everyone in town.” Anna moves into town and starts writing obituaries for every single person. The narrator goes unnamed and is a self-described bland and ordinary teenager. But something in him is inexplicably drawn to the new girl in his small town, Anna (Anastasia), a blonde goth girl who’s book-smart, street-smart and an all-around enigma. Our narrator falls for Anna’s penchant for literary allusions, notes, letters, packages and mix cd’s that are puzzles in themselves, and her sheer delight for life’s mysteries. He and Anna create a secret code, much like Houdini and his wife did, and when Anna is done writing her last obituary, she disappears. I enjoyed this one for the little unresolved clues and puzzles and questions it leaves, but wanted more. One thing I can say: Galloway knows how to make an awesome mix-cd.

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