Jones – Neil Smith

Abi and Eli are siblings, Abi the elder by two years. They share a special communicative relationship, more typical in twins. Their story concerns growing up in a dysfunctional family; in fact, family is described as the f-word. This is a difficult book to describe, other than it is wonderfully written and is highly recommended albeit with a warning that there is violence and abusive parental behaviour. Some dreadful actions are balanced with amazing humour. The outcome is absolutely stunning in its complexity and honesty. Note: I have just heard Neil Smith speak twice at Calgary’s WorldFest, making it even more important to read this book.

Boo by Neil Smith

booSmith was a chance discovery by Sarah and I as part of an interview of three authors at the Blue Metropolis Literary Festival in Montreal. Boo is Smith’s first novel, and presents an imaginative view of heaven, a not very celestial place that is segregated by age. Thus Boo is in a unique hereafter for dead 13 year-olds. This book has wonderful story-telling.