Since the first moment you start reading this book, you realize that you’re at an extraordinary work. Light Boxes is a contemporary fable set in a small town where an endless February has become something of a plague of cold and gray, draining life of color and happiness. Anything to do with flight (including flight itself and flying objects) has been banned and eradicated, and this ban is enforced by a sect of priests who stalk about the town with axes, ready to destroy any violation. The story is narrated through short sections, usually just a page. Additionally, author Shane Jones uses various tools to add texture to the already fantastic and imaginative story: a list of missing children, transcriptions of found handwritten notes, the distillation of a report from the priests who’ve been spying on the townspeople, and even different fonts and font sizes.
Before long for the reader (but eons for the characters), February has burst beyond its usual 28 or 29 days and does not seem to be nearing an end. Moreover, children begin to disappear: “Evie Rhodes—taken from her bed on February the 127th. . . . Jessica Chambers—vanished while walking with her dogs on February the 312th.” Eventually some of the townspeople are coaxed into action to break February’s stranglehold on their lives. The catalyst for this subversive action is a mysterious group of figures wearing colored bird masks.
The left side of my body is Bianca, and my right side is Selah. With no body I have no reason to move from this spot.
And Thaddeus’s mind spirals into itself, into strange thoughts, giving the sense that the lines are those thoughts that are not actually verbalized in one’s mind, but are the feelings just before language. Thaddeus continues:
Tell me everything won’t end in death. That everything doesn’t end with February. Dead wildflowers wrapped around a baby’s throat.
I’m going to move my hand today.
I vomit ice cubes.
There’s a ghost next to me.
Get up, Dad.
As the story moves along, February becomes more than a month, more than a name for the cold heart of winter in the Northern Hemisphere. February becomes increasingly anthropomorphic until he is a distant, godlike entity who is said to be responsible for the frigid atmosphere of misery and apathy, as well as abducting the children
I am not a bad person. I have enjoyed June, July and August like everyone else.
I’m so confused it almost feels calm.
I am guilty of kidnapping children. I am guilty of Bianca and causing great pain to Thaddeus and Selah and the town.
I want to be a good person, but I’m not.
Shane Jones weaves words and images in Light Boxes with an innocence that is deceptively simple. The book is succinct as well as fantastic and imaginative, at turns tender, funny, incredibly sad, and spirited. Light Boxes is the complete package of literary innovation as well as an accessible, engaging, and moving story that traverses human emotion while creating new experiences in narrative fiction.
Review Text taken from: http://quarterlyconversation.com/february-forever-light-boxes-by-shane-jones
I can only add to this great review that this wonderful, funny and terrifying book got me feel guilty for having in my birth date the month of “February”.