Page 45 Review by Stephen
Vanity, pride, envy and spite; the preening queen here is the epitome of the evil step-mother, unable to bear the sight of the beautiful daughter she inherits from the king's first marriage. So it's hello, huntsman, and bye-bye, baby; bring me her lungs and liver! To eat. Yes, the nineteenth-century Brothers were very Grimm indeed as this unabridged translation makes clear: not just multiple attempts at murder but barely thwarted cannibalism to boot. But it's the depth of the queen's obsession that staggers (and ultimately becomes her undoing) for, even after being effectively exiled from the court and living far out of sight with seven beardy blokes of diminutive stature, Snow White is still very much on the mind of this infanticidal maniac, thanks to the tittle-tattle of a tell-tale mirror that cannot keep its gob shut.
"Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the fairest of them all?"
"Still ain't you, bitch."
So off to the woods this self-regarding sadist goes, disguised each time enough to fool a dozy Snow White who simply won't be told, each time letting the old woman over the threshold to suffocate or poison her. Snow White's role, in fact, is entirely passive throughout. She doesn't actively do anything other than accept gifts from strangers - including a hand in marriage.
Camille has had an absolute ball here, predominantly in black, red, purples and green. The script is elaborately printed in multiple cases in a manner much favoured by McKean and is embellished with gold throughout. If were to coin a phrase to describe her art - with its babyish dwarves, its kohl-eyed animals and waspish witch - it would be Nursery Gothic; and if I were to chew on a chapter I suspect it would taste of liquorice.