Posts Tagged ‘Utopia’

Light Boxes by Shane Jones

Published March 16, 2010 by Molly

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Shane Jones’ novel Light Boxes opens with a beautiful little epigraph by Joseph Wood Krutch which reads:

“The most serious charge which can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”

We can all agree on that, no? The snippet foretells the book’s central conflict, which is a battle against the month of February. Only “month”, in this case, is a misnomer: the February of Light Boxes is an endless season of bleakness, a metaphysical state, a spiritual personage, sort of, and an oppressor above all.

Not to get anatomical here, but the form and the language of Jones’ novel are important to think about, because both are unusual. The book is divided into segments of a few paragraphs or a few sentences, and the prose will splinter freely into a recipe, a list, a monologue, a catalog or a cryptogram without warning. Somehow the transitions feel seamless, like reading the direct transcription of a story told by someone with no regard for conventions but an instinctive grasp of narrative.

Don’t want to spoil the plot—it’s delicate!—but trust us that this pocket-sized treasure is worth devouring.