Written by: Kate Genet
An atmospheric novella, ‘White’ by Tim Lebbon tells the story of a small group of survivors of what is named ‘The Ruin’ – an ongoing apocalyptic event that has brought the world to its knees, changing everything, even the weather, even the wildlife.
Horror writers, perhaps more than any others, often use setting as another character and Lebbon has done a masterful job of this in ‘White’. It is winter in the book – or perhaps it is not – either way, it snows, and the illustration of the perpetually shrouded, white setting underpins every action in the book. It is eerie and otherworldly, and reading it, I could almost feel the suffocating, blinding cold.
Narrated by one character, ‘White’ pulls the reader deep into the story, putting us there alongside the survivors, trapped, helpless, roaming the dusty decay of the country house with them. This voice tells us the survivor’s stories, but it also draws us deeper into the madness of life in The Ruin. It’s as creeping and encompassing as the incessant snow of the title.
A short book, but haunting, ‘White’ was a delightful way to spend a couple of hours, and I marveled during it how a horror story could be almost beautiful. In places practically lyrical, it is easy to forgive the few stumbling steps it takes every now and then. On the whole, it’s a story I’ve enjoyed thinking about past closing the covers.
As a bonus, another short work is included in the volume – a post-apocalyptic short told in such a matter of fact voice that the scenario in the book seems normal, and all the more shocking for it. It describes to us how we cling to that which we love, even when it is in a state of decay right in front of us. An enjoyable and vivid story. I recommend them both.
Order it right here.