Heart-Shaped Box (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Even though it has been three years since his last solo tour and even longer since the dissolution of his legendary heavy metal band, Jude’s Hammer, the charismatic Jude Coyne still looms large in the imagination of his fans. He now lives in relative isolation on a farm in upstate New York with two former groupies, one to keep the persistent public at bay and the other to share his bed, and two devoted dogs, Bonnie and Angus. A collector of occult memorabilia, Coyne places the winning bid on an intriguing Internet auction itemthe restless ghost of a woman’s stepfather. When the dead man’s suit arrives from Florida in a heart-shaped box, the plot is set in motion. In chapter 3, which is composed of only one sentence, the reader is told that Coyne puts the box in the “back of his closet,” deciding “to stop thinking about it.” The box, or rather the suit inhabited by the ghost, has plans of its own, and it will not be content to become a static, dust-collecting addition to Coyne’s eccentric collection.
The box in question makes indirect reference to the title of a song by Kurt Cobain of the American rock group Nirvana. Cobain was in the habit of exchanging with his wife, Courtney Love, heart-shaped boxes that served as repositories of items of significance to their relationship. According to some accounts, one such box is preserved by Love as a container for a lock of Cobain’s hair and a suicide note written shortly before he died in 1994,...
(The entire section is 1893 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2008)
Kirkus Reviews 75, no. 1 (January 1, 2007): 7.
Library Journal 131, no. 20 (December 1, 2006): 111.
The New York Times Book Review 156 (February 11, 2007): 11.
Publishers Weekly 253, no. 49 (December 11, 2006): 50.
Rolling Stone, no. 1022 (March 22, 2007): 26.
USA Today, February 12, 2007, p. 1.
(The entire section is 27 words.)