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Light Boxes

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3.73 of 5 stars 3.73  ·  rating details  ·  2,186 ratings  ·  428 reviews
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 experiencin...more
Paperback, http://www.penguin.com/book/light-boxes-by-shane-jones/9780143117780, 149 pages
Published May 25th 2010 by Penguin Books (first published 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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February
This is a terrible book of lies! This book makes me out to be such an awful person when in reality I'm not.

Please don't read it.

karen
if you are a fan of the surreal and you like poetry, this book will probably please you more than it pleased me.

almost everyone who has rated it on here has given it four or five stars, and i have to kind of assume they are right, and that my not liking this is some sort of personal anomaly, like how i hate the big lebowski but love every other coen brothers film ever. clearly, something is awry.

and it can't just be that i resent characters who resent perpetual winter, and try to kill the perso...more
Greg
I wanted to like this book.

At first I had a hard time finding my place in the story. The plot was too fleeting, everything drifted by like some snow drift on a windy February day. I got too hung up on the priests. I gave them too much importance, and they confused me. And they disappeared in the story. Another causality of some winter conditions, bleak and gray but not dramatic enough to be called a blizzard. Just one of those fucking annoying mid-winter days when you live in the middle of no-w...more
Melki
When I think of possible worst-case-scenarios, a Cheney/Limbaugh Presidency hovers right near the top of the list. The idea of a dark, snowy perpetual February like the one we've been experiencing this year, well, that's a pretty close second.

And here, we have the story of a town under siege, a down-in-the-dumps town suffering through nine-hundred-something days of February.

I can't remember it being colder than it is now. The ground is frozen and black, the town windows webbed in snow and ice....more
Kelanth, numquam risit ubi dracones vivunt
Io sono Vomitevole.
Non tanto per i 13,50 euro e nemmeno per il tempo perso, poco per fortuna, ma più che altro per l'idea che sia sufficente mettere tanti aggettivi, fare frasi sconnesse, non inserire dialoghi, impaginare paragrafi "alla viva il parroco", per credere di fare un buon racconto.
Pirla io che ci sono cascato.

P.S.: Per tutto il racconto, ho tifato per Febbraio.
Maciek
I was drawn to Light Boxes because of its beautiful cover, and the fantastical premise - people living in a tightly-knit small town under the rule of a weird, perpetual February, which froze the ground and rivers and bleached out the skies with clouds and frost, turning the town into a place where children go missing and adults lose themselves in depression...but where a group of dedicated citizens take it upon themselves to wage war against February, and get their town (and sanity) back.

Such st...more
J.A.
Anyone who has read Shane Jones’ work knows he can write, knows he is in fact a very complex and astute author, but the soon to be released novel ‘Light Boxes’ shows the true capability and brilliance of Jones’ language. ‘Light Boxes’ is Publishing Genius Press’ first take at a novel and realistically, this monster text of microburst fiction was an absolutely perfect choice.

To begin with the design, as this is a debut novel for both Jones and PGP, editor Adam Robinson’s signature polish and use...more
Zach
A delicious frosty treat of a book!

Death to February!
Jasmine
I read this book, it took about an hour. I think that the book really could have used a couple more fonts and some more funny sizing of text, but I accept that an author has to be careful that they haven't gone overboard. I do have to say I always appreciate an author who knows that it is unnecessary to use the entire page, I feel so accomplished when I am reading a book quickly even if that is because there is only one sentence on some of the pages. But really not every book with a funny format...more
Claudia
Light Boxes delights in the landscape of childhood fantasies and literature; there are balloons, kites, teacups, parchment letters, secret passages, and ghosts. This is the kind of book that is best digested in one sitting. Jones has an intuitive feel for mixing the everyday with the sublime. The personification of February, the explorations of utopia and our own sense of mortality, put me more in mind of George MacDonald than Lewis Carroll. There is an archaic sense of loneliness, and deep symp...more
Lee
Sort of like a surreal textual reinterpretation of the classic 1970s stop-action Xmas kids special The Year Without A Santa Claus (featuring Snow Miser and Heat Miser), formally arranged a la As I Lay Dying? Easy reading, spare (seemed sometimes like notes for what could be an awesome graphic novel). Most of the time I felt confounded, not engaged by the characters (probably because there's not much characterization -- for a while I enjoyed picturing 6'8" Sixers forward Thaddeus Young as the her...more
Kate
Nov 16, 2010 Kate rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: those looking for unique prose poetry
Shelves: poetry
I LOVE prose poetry and Shane Jones is incredibly inventive when it comes to this medium.

This was one story where it's disjointedness was endearing and I throughly enjoyed it's fable-like qualitites. I also liked how he played with fonts, even though I wished he'd done a bit more with that.

As we're moving toward winter here in the midwest, I really liked the imaginative metaphors that were created in this book, and at the end I too was 'down with winter'.

I am a huge fan of Shane Jones and can't...more
Courtney
What drew me into this novel was the illustration on the cover. Illustrations like this have a way of tempting me into buying books without looking at what the book is about. Anyway the book is about the invasion of February. I hate winter so I could feel for the characters in the book suffering from the effects of a long winter. I would love to see the story turned into a graphic novel or a children's book. But the book is great as it is too because of how the story works with the whole thing....more
Kua
Quale momento migliore di Febbraio ci poteva essere per leggere Io sono Febbraio? Eppure neanche il mese è bastato a convincermi riguardo a questa malinconica fiaba pseudo dark. Una storia con una trama più o meno surreale e un finale più o meno e basta; mi ha comunque colpito l'atmosfera che l'autore è riuscito a ricreare: una sorta di nebbia onirica, fatta di tristezza e depressione. Particolare anche l'idea dell'impaginazione fantasiosa (ma non certo una novità). Rimane l'impressione di una b...more
Antonella Sbriccoli
Uno strano libro, molto allegorico, evocativo, ma che non mi ha convinto del tutto. Molto originali la storia, l'ambientazione, anche il modo in cui l'impaginazine dei caratteri diversifica i personaggi e gli eventi. Il tutto però si sviluppa in modo frastagliato, senza arrivare a un qualcosa di veramente articolato. E alla fine sono rimasta un po' delusa, perché non ho trovato il succo che mi aspettavo. Credo però che non dimenticherò questa storia, i buchi nel cielo e le scatole di luce. E già...more
Aidan Watson-Morris
Sep 14, 2014 Aidan Watson-Morris added it
Recommends it for: people who like imagery, people who like poetry
Shelves: 2013
someone on here said this read like notes for a cool graphic novel & that's basically it, which you will either find beautiful or exhausting. i found it occasionally beautiful but consistently exhausting.
Amy
I usually like strange and different novels, but this one just didn't do it for me. The entire novel feels like it is the dictation of a long dream or that it is written under the influence of a hallucinogen. For content, I would have given it 1 star except that I can see that the author is being original in his approach to the novel. He "steps outside the [light:] box" by using fonts and characters' points of view in a very unique way. The storyline of the book has a very fleeting, dreamlike qu...more
Zachary Bush
I had heard of Shane Jones, don't know him personally, and had not read any of his work. That being said, this is (in my odd opinion) one of the best books I've read over the past 5 years...especially from modern prose writers, who can be a bit sloppy, wordy, and way too consumed in character exploration and thought...not story telling! This is a modern myth. this is a novella of prose poetry. Loved it. Mr. Jones, if you're out there, thank you.
Kevin
This debut novel shows a lot of promise. The wonderful plot is mesmerizing like a good fairy tale even though the story goes flat sometimes.
k
Jul 28, 2013 k rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer
For a more engaging read about a deranged sky entity, check out Salvador Plascencia's The People of Paper or the bible.
Marc Kozak
I can't say much about this that wouldn't give away the ending, but suffice it to say, there is a plot twist at the end, and I found it really awful. Some people are loving it though, so don't let me stop you. And it's only about 140 not-always-full pages, and takes an hour or so to read.

The basic idea is that this town is suffering under never-ending February, who is not only a month but a spirit-like being that is punishing the town. The main character loses his wife and child to February, an...more
Ruby  Tombstone [Uncensored or Else]
I can't resist a surrealist fairytale. And it doesn't get any more surreal than the death of flight, brought on by an endless personified winter who lives in the clouds with a girl who smells of honey and smoke, torturing the folk of a small town while kidnapping its children. Obviously this can only result in a war against February..



Jones writes beautifully, and presents his story through a series of short notes written by the various characters... or possibly by February.... or by the author,...more
Aldrin
Nov 05, 2010 Aldrin rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to Aldrin by: Fully Booked
Originally posted here.

It’s not discombobulating so much as overwhelming. In Shane Jones’s debut novel slash fable slash collection of fragments, February not only refers to a month but also to a man, not only to a man but also to a mental state, not only to a mental state but also to a multitude of other similar metaphors. Often, it’s all of these at once, and the effect is not discombobulating so much as overwhelming.

February--in this sentence or in any of the succeeding sentences or in any o...more
David Hebblethwaite
Here is a tale to make a reader’s heart soar.

Light Boxes was first published last year by a small press named Publishing Genius, in a limited-edition run; now, larger publishing houses have given Shane Jones’s debut novel a wider release – and deservedly so, because it’s an absolute gem. It’s the story of a balloon-maker named Thaddeus Lowe, whose town is held in the grip of February. Flight, by any means, is prohibited, and wintry weather is the norm. The town’s children have been going missing...more
Simon
Two words here: delightfully quirky. This really is the only way to describe the magical, hallucinogenic and psychedelic fairy-tale that is Light Boxes, Shane Jones’ short debut novel, originally published through Baltimore’s Publishing-Genius Press in an edition of 500, and now issued by Hamish Hamilton, as well as being optioned for film by director Spike Jonze (‘Where the Wild Things Are’). To be fair, it stretches the definition of what is usually considered a novel – it’s more along the lin...more
Maharet
Carino è carino, ha un'atmosfera che a me piace molto, surreale e rarefatta, ha una scrittura bella e poetica e una progressione interessante.
Shane Jones scrive senza dubbio molto bene, con una prosa capace di farti sentire il freddo sulla pelle, l'odore della menta e di trasportarti in questo mondo così particolare, grigio, freddo, quasi morto.
Però non so, non mi ha colpito eccessivamente, non so che insegnamento dovrei trarre da queste 160 pagine delicatissime e sognanti, forse troppo: si legg...more
Sabra Embury
Reading and enjoying a lot of Richard Brautigan's more supernatural stories lately: the Hawkline Monster, Sombrero Fallout; Shane Jones' Light Boxes impressed me for many of the same reasons. It's pretty incredible to be able to make the most unbelievable situation believable enough to be carried away into it. For instance a being called February living at the edge of a forest, through a duplicate portal in a cloud creating havoc on a town, weaving natural elements as plagues with horses sufferi...more
Gail Winfree
WARNING: If you don’t have a vivid imagination, don’t read this book. Shane Jones’ first novel tells the story of a town experiencing perpetual February. It seems that a god-like spirit who lives in the sky and happens to be named February is punishing the town for flying and bans flight of all kinds, including hot air balloons and kites. Imagine what it would be like to experience February for months and months. The town inhabitants decide to wage war against February will ill consequences. Jon...more
Daria
Fiaba nera affascinante, in cui allegorie e metafore sembrano impazzire e diventare personaggi autonomi a tutto tondo, slegati dal concetto che dovrebbero personificare, che a sua volta va in cerca di altre incarnazioni.
Io sono Febbraio si articola attorno a una costruzione narrativa interessante che arriva fino al confine della metanarrazione senza varcare "i margini della città", luogo onirico e poetico in cui l'inverno non vuole finire mai. Molto evocativo, ma non abbastanza da risultare pat...more
Brian
Jan 30, 2011 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Ben Loory
Shelves: read-2011
This was a gem of a little book. If Ben Loory were to expand one of his short stories into a novella... this would be it. Beautiful language. Wonderful idea. Perfect book for reading during any season.

It's been February for nearly 1000 days. All flight is banned. Balloon and kites no longer fly. Birds are left walking. Snow and ice covers the ground. And children are being kidnapped by February. It is time for war. A time to kill February and bring back July.
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“I wanted to write you a story about magic. I wanted rabbits appearing from hats. I wanted balloons lifting you into the sky. It turned out to be nothing but sadness, war, heartbreak. You never saw it, but there’s a garden inside me.” 44 likes
List of Artists Who Created Fantasy Worlds to Try and Cure Bouts of Sadness

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6. J.K. Rowling
7. The inventor of the children's toy Lite-Brite
8. Ann Sexton
9. David Foster Wallace
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