Justin Dobbs tipped us off that The Rumpus had published last week a nice review of Shane Jones’ Light Boxes. Jovanovic writes:
Jones makes use of ambiguity and possibility in the fabulist tradition of Gabriel García Márquez, but Light Boxes should not be considered a magic-realist novel. The sidereal reality of Thaddeus and The Solution is not simply one where magical elements are introduced into ordinary settings, like the man vomiting rabbits into flowerpots in Julio Cortázar’s “Letter to a Young Lady in Paris” (though Thaddeus does vomit ice cubes)—in Jones’s novel there are few touchstones to the world as we know it. Light Boxes partakes in the traditions of folklore, archetypal myth, and oral history, a pedigree reflected in its images and descriptions. Clouds have legs and shoulders. They are shaped like a hand and can fall apart like wet paper.
Dobbs’ email reminds me that I need to read The Rumpus more, because likely I’ll find good stuff over there, such as this blog post by Deb Olin Unferth on Stanley Crawford’s The Log of the S.S. the Mrs. Unguentine.
If I had to make a small, partial statement here about book reviewing, I’d say this: I find that the most effective reviews (those that affect me most, I mean) tend to be the reviews that make me remember how much I enjoyed reading a certain book (for some reason, I rarely read reviews of books I haven’t yet read?). And I’m using ‘reviews’ here in the loosest sense. Jovanovic’s review and Unferth’s blog post both do this. I enjoy reading another’s telling of his or her experience of a book and I enjoy the connections that telling ignites in my head.
Is this a stupidly simple appreciation of book reviews? Probably.
May 14th, 2009 / 11:14 am