Review from out west of SDJ
This lovely review comes from the blog of Carrie Mumford. I'm surprised by how many of the reviews actually move me. I mean, partly because I'm giddy that someone liked my book, but also because of insights that may not have occurred to me. For example, Carrie Mumford declares Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew a book about mourning. Although it was written out of mourning, I don't think I'd seen it as a book about that. But it sure makes sense.
Phew! Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew by Stuart Ross is one heavy read. You wouldn’t expect an unassuming little paperback (only 175 pages, and smaller than your average book) to pack such an emotional punch, but this book made my heart heavy. That’s not to say I wouldn’t read it again though; Stuart Ross is a masterful writer and I very much enjoyed his poetic prose.
Here’s a description from the publisher, ECW Press:
Ben is a performance artist about to enter his forties. His father and mother are both dead, and his brother, Jake, is a lousy source of information. So when he begins to struggle with a particularly nagging memory, he doesn’t know where to turn. The memory: the assassination — by his mother — of a prominent neo–Nazi. …
Stuart Ross’s first novel is a blend of suburban realism and out–of–body surrealism. Read more…
To me, Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew is about mourning. Mourning the loss of childhood, mourning the loss of two parents, and mourning the loss of a brother. The book is set in Toronto, and each chapter could almost stand as a short story on its own. Ross weaves these chapters together into an exploration of past where the lines between what really happened and what the narrator remembers are heavily blurred.
Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew has one of the most memorable opening sentences I have ever come across:
“To its surprise, the bullet sailed out of the gun my mother clutched unsteadily in both hands, and a moment later the big man’s yellow hard hat leapt from his thick head, into the air.”
How awesome is that?! Beginning a novel from the perspective of a bullet, especially a bullet that is involved in an incident that haunts the narrator throughout the work, seems brilliant to me.
I’d recommend Snowball, Dragonfly, Jew to anyone interested in serious literary fiction, poetry (it’s very poetic), or a view of a Jewish childhood (fascinating).
Over and out.