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Light Boxes: A Novel

 
 
 
 
Light Boxes: A Novel
Author: Shane Jones
ISBN 13: 9780143117780
ISBN 10: 143117785
Edition: Reprint
Publisher: Penguin Books
Publication Date: 2010-05-25
Format: Paperback
Pages: 149
List Price: $14.00
 
 

A poignant and fantastical first novel by a timeless new literary voice.

With all the elements of a classic fable, vivid descriptions, and a wholly unique style, this idiosyncratic debut introduces a new and exciting voice to readers of such authors as George Saunders, Kurt Vonnegut, and Yann Martel.

In Light Boxes, the inhabitants of one closely-knit town are experiencing perpetual February. It turns out that a god-like spirit who lives in the sky, named February, is punishing the town for flying, and bans flight of all kind, including hot air balloons and even children's kites. It's February who makes the sun nothing but a faint memory, who blankets the ground with snow, who freezes the rivers and the lakes. As endless February continues, children go missing and more and more adults become nearly catatonic with depression. But others find the strength to fight back, waging war on February.

Publishers Weekly

Jones’s brief and bewildering war fable pursues the plight of a town battling to free itself from the brutal hold of the month of February (also sometimes a person or a force or merely a metaphor), a meanie that has not allowed its wintry grip to lift for hundreds of days. When the despairing townspeople, led by valiant Thaddeus Lowe and his wife and daughter, suffer reprisals from February and “the priests” for trying to break the weather, a group of former balloonists don bird masks and, calling themselves the Solution, instigate a rebellion. Thaddeus’s daughter, Bianca, is kidnapped, along with other children, leading Thaddeus to plot ways to deceive February: townspeople walk around pretending it’s summer and secure “light boxes” around their heads to simulate the sun. February, meanwhile, may simply be feeling unloved by his wife, “the girl who smells of honey and smoke” and who seems eerily like Bianca. It’s a quaint and bizarre allegory that explores the perils of equivocation, but it’s likely more pleased with its own cleverness than readers will be. (June)