Monday, March 19, 2012
Alexis M. Smith, GLACIERS
This is a little jewelbox of a novel, poetic and poignant. Smith gives us one day in the life of Isabel, who collects items from junkshops and works in a library restoring old tattered books; she deals, gently, in scraps and broken things. At work, there's a computer tech named Spoke who, like her, deals in broken things: with his grandfather, as a child, he'd pick up lamps and bicycles and whatnot off the side of the road and take them back to their workshop. [Spoiler alert:] After high school, he enlists and becomes a fix-it guy in Iraq. One day, some Iraqi kids are trying to ride a broken bike, and he fixes it for them. But a donkey carrying a bomb comes by and blows everyone up; Spoke takes a spoke to his lung. Now Isabel, who loves Spoke, finds out that he has to go back for another tour in Iraq. This book is in part about how the material world (literally, in his case) gets under our skin, and how our stories are made up of scraps and treasures that we fix in place.