Review: Light Boxes

Light Boxes: A Novel by Shane JonesShane Jones, Light Boxes

This slight novel is set in an unnamed town that’s experiencing perpetual winter. The townspeople know that this is caused by a godlike being named February, who has also banned all forms of flight. Birds fall from the sky, kites don’t work, and hot-air balloonist Thaddeus Lowe can no longer take to the sky. The town’s children begin to go missing, and adults commit suicide out of their desperation and despair. Eventually Thaddeus and some of the townspeople decide to fight back, but how can their pitiful efforts outmatch the might of February?

I should say right up front that I don’t think I’m the right audience for this book. I loved the concept, and the cover blurb made me think that it would be sort of a magical fable. But ultimately I just didn’t get the point of the book; in fact, I’m not entirely sure it has one. The writing style is lyrical, almost like poetry — and maybe I’d have liked the book more if I’d approached it as poetry rather than a novel. The plot is interesting, but it’s only outlined as the merest sketch. I felt like a lot more could have been done with the ballooning/flying idea, for example. That said, I don’t think this is a bad book at all, and I’m sure there are many people who would absolutely love it. Unfortunately, it just wasn’t for me.

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