Two Minute Review: Bone Gap by Laura Ruby

Thursday, December 17, 2015
Title: Bone Gap
Author: Laura Ruby
Genre: magical realism
Series: N/A
Pages: 373
Published: March 2015
Source: publishers via edelweiss
Rating: 2/5

Everyone knows Bone Gap is full of gaps—gaps to trip you up, gaps to slide through so you can disappear forever. So when young, beautiful Roza went missing, the people of Bone Gap weren’t surprised. After all, it wasn’t the first time that someone had slipped away and left Finn and Sean O’Sullivan on their own. Just a few years before, their mother had high-tailed it to Oregon for a brand new guy, a brand new life. That’s just how things go, the people said. Who are you going to blame?

Finn knows that’s not what happened with Roza. He knows she was kidnapped, ripped from the cornfields by a dangerous man whose face he cannot remember. But the searches turned up nothing, and no one believes him anymore. Not even Sean, who has more reason to find Roza than anyone, and every reason to blame Finn for letting her go.

As we follow the stories of Finn, Roza, and the people of Bone Gap—their melancholy pasts, their terrifying presents, their uncertain futures—acclaimed author Laura Ruby weaves a heartbreaking tale of love and loss, magic and mystery, regret and forgiveness—a story about how the face the world sees is never the sum of who we are.

Bone Gap is a weird book. Magical realism is always going to be a hit or miss genre - what works for one reader might make no sense at all to another. That is the case here with Bone Gap -- it's been lauded as fantastic and feminist and original. And while I see the third as accurate,  I don't get the same reading as the fans of the novel and don't see it as fantastic. I wanted to love it but it's just not my brand of magical realism.

For me, the elements of supernatural or magic, have to make some kind of sense in the novel. For example in my experience, Nova Ren Suma is great at incorporating magical elements seamlessly; Laura Ruby's attempts are blunt and unexplained. It's a short book, but it makes little to no sense. I could see the richness of Ruby's prose but the plot and execution were too muddled.

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