Clos­ing Down Heaven

Foreword Reviews - - Spotlight Reviews Young Adult -

Les­ley Choyce, Red Deer Press Soft­cover $12.95 (176pp), 978-0-88995-543-1

This free-verse novel be­gins with Hunter’s death: after a bi­cy­cle ac­ci­dent, Hunter finds him­self in another world. He is greeted by a man named Archie, who ex­plains what has hap­pened and how Hunter is now “home.” From there, Hunter en­coun­ters a young woman named Trin­ity, a girl whom Archie warns him he must pro­tect. The task grows in­creas­ingly com­pli­cated when Trin­ity and Hunter are re­turned to Earth. From there, Hunter must deal with his con­fused mem­o­ries, his new­found abil­ity to see auras, and his des­per­ate but mud­dled sense that he must do some­thing to save Trin­ity be­fore her time runs out.

The free-verse form of the novel gives the whole work a dream­like qual­ity, and the story is com­pelling and sweet. Di­a­logue is set off with tabs (in­den­ta­tions) rather than quo­ta­tion marks, a con­struct that is easy to follow. Just enough hints are given about the na­ture of re­al­ity, and Heaven, and Earth, that the gaps in logic seem rather to be some­thing out of our un­der­stand­ing than er­rors in ex­e­cu­tion. For ex­am­ple, Archie’s role as semi-men­tor is men­tioned but not fully ex­plained: even Archie doesn’t seem to fully un­der­stand his po­si­tion, and he serves only to of­fer half-an­swers and half-truths for the en­tire story, never com­pletely jus­ti­fy­ing his ex­is­tence in his own world. The novel then hur­tles to­ward a rid­dled close that, with its back-and-forth na­ture, seems to take away some of the power of the ear­lier stakes. How­ever, the story re­mains com­pelling to the end.

In Clos­ing Down, nei­ther Heaven nor Earth plays by the rules—and what re­sults is a po­et­i­cal look at life, death, fate, and choices. The short length of the novel means that many of th­ese ques­tions go unan­swered; thus the story of­fers a way into a dis­cus­sion of such ques­tions, rather than any pat or mean­ing­ful an­swers.

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