Monday, November 8, 2010

Light Boxes

Light Boxes, by Shane Jones, is a fascinating hybrid between a fantasy novel and a poem. The imagery is both beautiful:

Selah painted an intricate intertwining of kites on Bianca’s hands and wrists, the tails extending up her forearms and around her shoulders.
And terrifying:

Caldor Clemens was hanged by his neck inside a hollow oak tree. His flesh had been torn open, and birds had made nests inside his stomach, chest, and neck.
The novel has multiple levels of meaning. On the surface it is the simple story of a town that is punished by not only being banned from any sort of flying—even the bees can’t fly-- but also by having to live constantly in the month of February. But much of the meaning is communicated through the symbolism: the girl who smells of honey and smoke, the Solution who wear bird masks, balloons, mint, the light box, even the month of February.

Is this a book about Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD), depression, pervasive pessimism in a community, something else entirely; or is this just a simple story?

I read the book twice and would read it a few more times if I didn’t have to return it to the library. This would be a great little book to use in a class or a book group because it is so open to different interpretations.

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