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Galloway, Gregory 1962(?)–

Galloway, Gregory 1962(?)–

PERSONAL: Born c. 1962, in Keokuk, IA; married. Education: University of Iowa, B.A., 1984, M.A., 1986, Iowa Writers' Workshop, M.F.A., 1989.

ADDRESSES: Home—Hoboken, NJ. Agent—c/o Author Mail, Putnam Publicity, Penguin Group, 375 Hudson St., New York, NY 10014.

CAREER: Author. Worked in publishing, marketing, and Internet consulting.

WRITINGS:

As Simple as Snow (novel), Putnam (New York, NY), 2005.

Contributor of poems and short stories to periodicals, including Iowa Review, McSweeney's, and Rush Hour.

SIDELIGHTS: First-time novelist Gregory Galloway reprised an old form—the whodunit—with his 2005 novel As Simple as Snow. Despite its title, Galloway's novel is anything but simple, according to Starr E. Smith in School Library Journal. As Smith wrote, "this clever first novel enmeshes its characters in" complexities that become evident only over time. The book's narrator, a high school boy living in a sleepy town, suddenly tunes in to his reality after Anna, the new girl in school, becomes part of the school's Goth clique. Immediately attracted to her, the boy is also mystified; the sophisticated Anna seems to hide bruises and is a devotee of Harry Houdini; a fan of codes and ciphers, she is also a lover of wordplay. Her major hobby, besides reading the works of French poet Rimbaud, is penning fictional obituaries for everybody in town. When Anna goes missing, the boy tries to get to the bottom of her disappearance, sifting through clues both obvious and subtle. Her dress was neatly folded near a hole in the ice, and he wonders if she did not die trying to mimic one of Houdini's escape stunt. Or perhaps it was murder and a teacher at school or her parents were involved. Maybe it was suicide, or maybe Anna is not dead at all.

Despite the wealth of clues, Galloway raises more questions than he answers in As Simple as Snow, and this situation frustrated some reviewers. A critic for Kirkus Reviews, for example, found the work "engagingly written" but also a "pointless exercise." Allison Lynn, writing in People, noted such rifts but went on to conclude, "this strange tale" sticks in the mind. Similarly, Harriet Klausner, writing in MBR Bookwatch, observed that Galloway paints a picture of "disenchanted teens, but … leaves too much unanswered especially the spooky elements that haunt" the narrator. Mixing media, Galloway addresses these dangling plot threads in his novel via a Web site devoted to the book that is filled with more clues, ciphers, and information about Houdini and the fictinal Anna.

Prudence Peiffer, reviewing As Simple as Snow in Library Journal, regretted the fact that so much of the book is "open ended," but also praised it as a "promising first novel." Other reviewers found more to like, despite—or because of—the fact that its central mystery remains unsolved at book's end. A contributor for Publishers Weekly called it a "quirky, engrossing debut," and a "rich, complex puzzle [that] is the work of a talented author." Michael Cart, reviewing the title in Booklist, felt the novel's "ambiguities and unanswered questions, its teasing foreshadowings and forebodings, make" the work memorable. Smith dubbed it "an intriguing debut."

BIOGRAPHICAL AND CRITICAL SOURCES:

PERIODICALS

Booklist, January 1, 2005, Michael Cart, review of As Simple as Snow, p. 814.

Kirkus Reviews, January 15, 2005, review of As Simple as Snow, p. 71.

Library Journal, February 15, 2005, Prudence Peiffer, review of As Simple as Snow, p. 116.

MBR Bookwatch, March, 2005, Harriet Klausner, review of As Simple as Snow.

People, May 2, 2005, Allison Lynn, review of As Simple as Snow, p. 48.

Publishers Weekly, February 7, 2005, review of As Simple as Snow, p. 42.

School Library Journal, May, 2005, Starr E. Smith, review of As Simple as Snow, p. 168.

Weehawken Reporter (Hudson County, NJ), May 8, 2005, Caren Lissner, review of As Simple as Snow.

ONLINE

As Simple as Snow Web site, http://www.assimpleassnow.com/ (July 7, 2005).

Grade Winner, http://www.gradewinner.com/ (March, 2005), Carolyn Mumick, "Gregory Galloway: The Whodunit May Seem Old Hand, but with His Debut Novel, Gregory Galloway Gives the Form a Twenty-First-Century Spin."

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