I had gotten turned on to Tony Earley by some earlier posts on BGB, and I read and loved his novel, Jim the Boy. The Blue Star is Earley’s latest novel and continues the story of Jim Glass. Not to get too eloquent on you, but holy crap can Earley write. I loved The Blue Star even more than I loved Jim the Boy, and that’s saying something.
This book picks up when Jim is a senior in high school, still in rural Aliceville, North Carolina, on the brink of World War II. And while there still aren’t any specific things that cause me to relate more closely to our main character, I guess this book resonated even more with me than the first one because of some of the general themes that I think are somewhat timeless — including the idea of the girl that you want but don’t think you can have — as well as my feeling that this book told more of a story than Jim the Boy did (again, no disrespect for that amazing book). I’ve done this before, and I’m going to do it again — here are a few tidbits from the book that I think represent Earley’s gift for language and metaphor:
The weather was still warm — the days mild, the first frost still days or weeks away — but the world seemed bent on practicing for the coming winter.
He could feel thousands of words, everything that he wanted to say to her, piled up behind his teeth, waiting for him to open his mouth so they could storm into the light.
The fruit trees glittered like fountains whose water had sprung suddenly from the earth, only to freeze before it touched the ground.
I know that’s not much, but those brief snippets, to me, are just examples of prose so perfect that it borders on poetry. I can’t give this book anything less than two thumbs up, and I’d give it more if I had more thumbs.