Light Boxes

Light Boxes

4.5 13
by Shane Jones
     
 

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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

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Overview

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.

Editorial Reviews

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)
From the Publisher
"Resplendent, and somehow nearly edible, Shane Jones has written the kind of novel that makes you reconsider the word perfect."
-Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

"At last, a book that cries out to our inner balloonists. Shane Jones has built a fable that is fresh and surprising, but also familiar in the way that the oldest stories are familiar."
-Jedediah Berry, author of The Manual of Detection

"Reading this book makes you realize what our American literature has been missing. Wholly original, tremendously imaginative, written with the deftest hand, Light Boxes makes sense of modern life in the way only dreams can."
-Joe Meno, author of Hairstyles of the Damned

"[T]his literary gem of metaphysical malaise has that ideally weird blend of offputting sensualism and heartfelt emotion-just the sort of thing to ensure a dedicated, if limited, following."
-Booklist

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780143117780
Publisher:
Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/25/2010
Pages:
160
Sales rank:
601,199
Product dimensions:
4.90(w) x 7.00(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range:
18 Years

Read an Excerpt

View an excerpt from Light Boxes.

What People are saying about this

Joe Meno
"Reading this book makes you realize what our American literature has been missing. Wholly original, tremendously imaginative, written with the deftest hand, Light Boxes makes sense of modern life in the way only dreams can." --(Joe Meno, author of Hairstyles of the Damned)
Jedediah Berry
"At last, a book that cries out to our inner balloonists. Shane Jones has built a fable that is fresh and surprising, but also familiar in the way that the oldest stories are familiar."--(Jedediah Berry, author of The Manual of Detection)
Rivka Galchen
"Resplendent, and somehow nearly edible, Shane Jones has written the kind of novel that makes you reconsider the word perfect."--(Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances)
From the Publisher
"Resplendent, and somehow nearly edible, Shane Jones has written the kind of novel that makes you reconsider the word perfect."
-Rivka Galchen, author of Atmospheric Disturbances

"At last, a book that cries out to our inner balloonists. Shane Jones has built a fable that is fresh and surprising, but also familiar in the way that the oldest stories are familiar."
-Jedediah Berry, author of The Manual of Detection

"Reading this book makes you realize what our American literature has been missing. Wholly original, tremendously imaginative, written with the deftest hand, Light Boxes makes sense of modern life in the way only dreams can."
-Joe Meno, author of Hairstyles of the Damned

"[T]his literary gem of metaphysical malaise has that ideally weird blend of offputting sensualism and heartfelt emotion-just the sort of thing to ensure a dedicated, if limited, following."
-Booklist

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Meet the Author

Shane Jones was born in February of 1980. His poetry and short fiction have appeared in numerous literary journals, including New York Tyrant, Unsaid, Typo, and Pindeldyboz. He lives in upstate New York. This is his first novel.

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Light Boxes 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
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Mooseman_Cometh More than 1 year ago
I enjoy the atmosphere created by this book through the clever use of language and unique characters. At the end of the day, this is a light fun read. There isn't necessarily a point to it. Think of it as a literacy equivalent to eating ice cream: the best part is how it feels and taste while you're consuming it, but when it's over, you don't need to feel like you learned anything at all.
Janus More than 1 year ago
'Light Boxes' is certainly not a bad book, but it has been the disappointment of the year for me so far. I discovered this book while researching one of my new favorites, 'The Lost Books of the Odyssey'. The cover drew me in and the premise convinced me I would like it. Also learning that Spike Jonze was going to make it into a movie piqued my interest even more. The problem with this story is that it feels like a really short little fairytale that has been contrived into a 160 page book. The whole thing feels unnatural. As far as the writing style goes, it is abrupt, unique, but still engaging enough. That's not the problem. The problem is the story itself just does not warrant being as long as is is. The plot is very disjointed and don't look for very much to make sense. Characters seemed to simply exist, motivation was given to some of their actions but due to the writing style it was difficult to feel too convinced. I sometimes got the sense that Jones was being weird just for weirdness sake. It's certainly a commendable first effort from a very promising author, but 'Light Boxes' never quite delivers.