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 Stone Junction by Jim Dodge (c. 1990)

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Join date : 2008-10-22
Age : 50
Location : Geneva, Illinois

PostSubject: Stone Junction by Jim Dodge (c. 1990)   Wed 11 Feb 2009, 9:08 am

Now that I've gotten my fill of heady, somewhat difficult literature for my January and February topics, I thought I'd ferret out something that was a bit more fun. That is not really that easy in the 1001 Books list, but after a bunch of wandering, found that the few readers that were able to get their hands on copies of this author's work, loved his stuff.

I never heard of the author or his books, but when the description of this one started like this ... "Stone Junction is a wise and wildly imaginative novel about Daniel Pearse, an orphaned child who is taken under the wings of the AMO - Alliance of Magicians and Outlaws ..." I thought well, if nothing else, it will certainly be different from, say, 19th century Russia and agricultural methodology (where I just left):



Amazon was the only place I could find it, and it took a while for it to ship.

Review to follow.

Carolyn
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PostSubject: Review of Stone Junction by Jim Dodge   Sun 15 Feb 2009, 9:14 am

Review of Stone Junction by Jim Dodge (c. 1990)

This ended up being one of the wildest, weirdest books I have ever read. For the most part, that is a good thing, but sometimes it gets a little tedious (tries too hard to be weird?) and repetitive. Still, the characters are great, the book steeped in a very Bond-esque, creative, often hilarious, underground counter-culture (all against capitalism and government kinda thing - with a wide array of interesting individuals with even more interesting talents, skills and mindsets) called the AMO (Allliance of Magicians and Outlaws). The AMO takes our progatonist, Daniel Pearse, under its wing both as a child with his mother; and then training begins in earnest when he is 14 and his mother is killed in a heist (of governmental plutonium) gone awry. Daniel is "developed" by various "teachers" in the AMO, for a final, very dangerous diamond heist. His teachers and his learning are what really made this book shine. Varying degrees of fringe beliefs, many drugs, much sex, road-tripping and a LOT of fun ... from a master poker player, an elusive alchemist, a master of disguises and finally, the head magician teaches Daniel his last fateful skills. The interesting thing is how all the outlaws use their very useful talents with Daniel and out in the "real world."

On some level, this book really makes you think about the structure of government, living on the fringes and the amazing talents some people have. If that all could be pooled and organized, as it is in the AMO, it could be rather powerful. Also, we learn about some REALLY interesting topics. I found the alchemist, the mountain Buddha (of sorts), the poker theory and the disguise training absolutely fascinating. There is plenty of lore, literature, culture and fable that goes into Daniel's learning. Either the author is a genius in many subjects or he spent a good deal of time researching the topics of learning.

My biggest complaint is the plot itself is a bit weak and the end marred by some gratuitous violence.

Unlike some of the other books on the 1001 list, I can see why this one was chosen. It is unique, stretches the mind quite a bit and is just a weirdly invigorating reading experience. I laughed quite a bit as some of the dialogue is hysterical. I really wonder how this was not more popular and more widely spread. I think a lot of young adults would really enjoy this one.

But as a whole, it's a tad messy, it is almost like a bunch of short stories really. Overall, I recommend this for a reader who likes their literature off-the-beaten path, with a heavy dose of counter-culter and the metaphysical.

3.5 out of 5 stars
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