The Giant Under the Snow

The Giant Under the SnowThe Giant Under the Snow by John Gordon

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Lately, I find myself more and more irritated with modern books written expressly for grownups. There are exceptions, but I find a great deal of them boring, ponderous and staggering under the weight of their self-imposed importance. Perhaps this is due to my advancing years, my own impatience and cantankerousness; I suppose that’s the charitable interpretation. Whatever the reason, I’ve been looking back more to the past and rediscovering the books I enjoyed as a child and a teenager. A great many of those books do not hold up well with the years. Happily, a great many do.

John Gordon’s The Giant Under the Snow is one of those books that holds up admirably, despite the years. I think I first read him when I was 10 or 12. He’s a deft writer, careful with his words. If he were a painter, I’d imagine he’d be something along the lines of a Japanese minimalist (is there such a school?), painting masterpieces with spare strokes, cold, wintry landscapes hinting at great distances and mystery.

Giant is an enthralling, mysterious story of three friends who discover an ancient belt buckle while on a school outing. The discovery brings alive a world of danger and magic that exists right on the edge of their own mundane world. I hesitate to say too much, as the story should be enjoyed pristine the first time. Suffice it to say, I own a copy and re-read the story every couple of years.

I would argue that Gordon’s book is one of the very first urban fantasy books to ever be written, long before the term had been coined. I’m not fond of the genre as it currently exists; however, if there were more writers like Gordon out there, I would become a devotee of the genre. Thankfully, Gordon’s book is available in paperback on Amazon.

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2 thoughts on “The Giant Under the Snow”

  1. “…staggering under the weight of their self-imposed importance…” Oh dear me, yes.
    I don’t know about a school of Japanese minimalists, but what you’re describing sounds to me like classical Chinese painting. Which now has me intrigued about this book. When was it written?

    1. He wrote it in 1968. I think it was one of his earlier books. I haven’t read anything else he’s written, but this blog post has sparked my interest. Time to track some of them down…

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