Thursday, 28 April 2011

'Sweet Home'

Once Upon a Time illustration by Angie Thompson

My fairy tale, 'Sweet Home' came second in the national, Once Upon a Time ~ Modern Fairy Tale Competition.

I read it last night at a prize-giving event and, after some discussion on facebook, even managed to pronounce ganache correctly!

Here's a small extract of the story:

Sweet Home

... The old woman built her house around the stove. She dug out foundations with a shovel and filled the trenches with slow-baked slabs of salt dough and buckets of oozy sugar paste. She cooked thick gingerbread bricks and glazed them with glacé icing which set hard during the cool, wood-shaded evenings. Paper-thin slices of gelatine were latticed into windows, crisscrossed by steady chords of ganache. She constructed a roof out of Linzertorte squares and piped meringue along every join. The midday sun hardened the egg-white mortar into stiff, crispy peaks. When she had finished, she sat on her gingerbread porch modelling tiny flowers out of fondant. She dyed them using wild onion skins, beetroot and hollyhock petals and placed them in gingerbread window boxes.
It was only when the postman had to deliver a package addressed to The Gingerbread House using a postcode which indicated the wood at the margin of the village that people heard about what the old woman had done. People chatted about it in the Post Office, discussed it in the pub and then sauntered down the B road on the pretext of getting some fresh air.
            The gingerbread house was set back from the road by several hundred feet, but was just about visible from the path through the criss-cross of foliage and branches. A crowd gathered at the edge of the wood, their exclamations rising in a whip-swirl of disquiet...


  1. Not that I'm qualified to comment on short stories, my only familiarity with the format are of the E.A. Poe kind and those I read less for their elements of gothic horror, but more for the comic factor...This I confess is how I primarily judge all literary works first and foremost - are they funny?
    Still with my one-dimensional approach to fiction there was much to keep me interested here...I found especially funny the general idea of the conflict between the clueless local residents and the iron will of the old 'probably-could-only-conceivably-be-a-German' lady. The image of her trudging down the B road with a tent & bulging carrier bags, her 'grizzled face' photo for the Daily Mail, the inability of the Planning Office to cope when confronted with such rare, foreign ingenuity and of course the best part the kids pushing her into the stove.
    But where did she get all the Tupperware, surely she hadn't been invited to many Tupp. parties? And writing about such delicious food can be a double-edged sword...while making your readers hungry, in the inevitable scramble to the kitchen cupboards in the hope to find left-over Linzertorte, shortbread or Swiss Rolls, many could return deflated to the computer to read the stories' conclusion, chewing on a nothing better than a raw onion or if their really lucky some beetroot!
    Anyway, I did warn you at the start I only do superficial reviews! Well done with the award Carys, and keep up the good work...

  2. Thanks Peter :)
    My favourite stories are usually dark and funny too.