I’m sure you all know about my obsession with Andrew Smith already–I’ve posted about all his other books: Grasshopper Jungle, 100 Sideways Miles, and Winger, and we had a guest post about The Marbury Lens. However, this latest book is his magnum opus (this far, because he’s still writing). Reading this book I realized what a genre-bending genius he is, and I have not been so moved by a book in a long time.
Ariel is possibly my favorite character of all time. Reflections this one might explain: “Why would anyone ask a question to someone who has free will and then be surprised–or disappointed–by their answer?” Ariel, a refugee now living with a family in West Virginia, is shuffled off to Camp Merrie-Seymour for Boys with the son of the family he’s living with. But the book also contains flashbacks to the late 1800s with Arctic explorers and also Ariel’s flashbacks to being in refugee camps. The result is a fascinating amalgam of what it means to be human in all times and places.
If I were to describe this book to anyone, it would be difficult, but perhaps if you imagined The Kite Runner and The Stand and The Tempest and The Heart of Darkness and 1984 all squished together you might have an tiny idea of what this book delves into. The problem here is the reductive nature of comparing one book to another. The Alex Crow is, simply, incomparable.