Conduits: The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins
by J. Ryan Sommers
Conduits : The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins is a wholesome read, full of elements which are magical, witty, adventurous, spooky, and of course enigmatic. An anthology of stories narrated in a lyrical style of writing, The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins is an out-of-world book which will have you hooked till the last page.
The first reason why I liked reading The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins was the unusual preface to the book. A preface, or a foreword, I believe, is as important as the blurb of a book. A preface can either make or break our expectations towards the book. The preface, in the end, is the only part of the book which binds the knit between the attempts behind-the-text to create the book, and the plot which follows. The preface to The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins single-handedlyset the mood of the subsequent chapters in the book. And that made all the difference. Secondly, the theme too goes hand in hand with the preface. Quite unusual as the latter, the themes of The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins include magic realism, wit & humour, a tinge of adventure, AND a bit of reality too. Wait. Not a “bit”, but a whole chunk of it. And that is possible because of the language of the story. The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins has a pastoral essence imbued in the words of the book, from the beginning of the preface. And it is this pastoral mood which dominates the entire story and vents in an unusually beautiful collection of short stories from the haven of Green Valley. The structure is equally commendable, for every story has that two important connections among them — the theme of nature, and the Green Valley as it’s venue. However, what I loved most about The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins is how it attempts to view the real world in which we readers live. The preface claims that one can find Green Valley anywhere in this world, and then goes on to describe how the place looks like. No matter how different, unique, or even absurd it may sound, one aspect of it is very true — Green Valley is the place we are looking for, because it does not exist. The book says it does, because (according to my interpretation), Green Valley exists in — in our minds, intangible till date. I am afraid I can’t articulate properly how brilliantly and subtly The Ballad of Jinx Jenkins tries to create something so beautiful, so extraordinary.
I convey my best wishes to the author for his future endeavours.