Thursday, February 17, 2011

Book Review: "Light Boxes" by Shane Jones

 Last night, I spent an extraordinary evening reading the strangest little novel: "Light Boxes" by Shane Jones.

February has come, and it isn't leaving. It's even taken away flight. Engulfed in years of February, a town of balloonists and kite flyers fight back. It's war.

Perhaps the oddest war you will ever encounter: underground tunnels with missing children, holes in clouds, war plans written on scraps of parchment and tied with blue bows, cups of mint tea, kites painted on arms.

Jones creates such an other-worldly atmosphere, with tight, spare, and sometimes surprising prose, that you will give in. And if you are anything like me, struggling to decide which side you're on (oh, February... why?). This is a brilliant little book, wholly unlike anything I've ever read. If I'm honest, when I read the first few pages and realized how unorthodox was the manner in which Jones had written this, I wanted to put it down. Lately, I'm in no mood for experimental books, and maybe that's because so many authors come across as pretentious when they venture beyond the traditional. In this case, it turns the story -- already fantastical -- into a true work of art.

Really, it's been around five bucks for the last two weeks; Jones himself says he doesn't know why, if perhaps it's a February promotion or if Amazon realized they have 10,000 copies, but either way, how can you lose? An original, fresh, intriguing fable. Highly recommended.

BTW, I chose this book from a list of rec's by Bryan Russell over at The Alchemy of Writing. This was the first I've tried from his list, and I'll certainly be going back to check out more of his recs.

Okay, I'm going back under the rock. See you all soon.

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