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A dazzling road trip to the navel of the world

Lightning Stone

Johan de Boose

In ‘Lightning Stone’ Johan de Boose takes the reader on a journey across the US. His trip to the navel of the world, an ancient landscape in Utah, is a final tribute to his uncommunicative father who collected sand, rocks, fossils and mineral samples from all four corners of the world so he could study the earth from the safety of his office. En route, de Boose stops in Gardner, a God-forsaken little town, to say goodbye to his close friend and brother-in-law Gary, who used to help pregnant teenage girls, but succumbed to alcoholism ten years ago.

A personal and loving novel about a quest for connection on a lonely planet
Villa d’Arte

The road trip across the US is interspersed with de Boose’s family history and features photos from the family archive. This lends the novel an autobiographical flavour, but it remains a fictitious story in which reality takes detours into magic realism. The author not only travels to inhospitable, barren landscapes, but also into the labyrinths of memory. While doing so, he carries with him a lightning stone, ‘a hollow tube of molten rock or sand, formed by a lightning strike’.

With his warm, affectionate pen de Boose evokes a vivid world, cleverly alternating between contemplative-philosophical and familiar, as well as striking the occasional humorous note. His fine narrative style conjures up images of ancient landscapes, rocks and sand, accompanied by reflections on memory, transience and loss. 

A fascinating and intense homage to his father
Interview with Johan de Boose on 'Lightning Stone'