Monday, October 13, 2008

#31 Pandora's Box by Alice Thompson

My Rating: 6 out of 10 stars

Looked at from a literal sense, Pandora's Box seems like some kind of wild mushroom trip. However, when perceived from the allegorical sense from which it was intended, we see the myth of Pandora molded into a chilling and spooky tale, quite appropriate for the season too. ;)

One dark and stormy night—LOL don't you just love it when stories start that way?—Dr. Noah Close opens his door to find a beautiful woman standing within a circle of fire on his doorstop. As he discovers, though surrounded by fire, her skin is actually quite cool to the touch. She is without voice or any discernible history, but Noah takes her in, nurses her back to health, and performs the necessary surgery to regraft her skin, for even much of her facial structure was lost to the fire. He names her Pandora and she becomes his wife. Though mute, they communicate through actions alone, and Noah finally believes he has found true happiness and bliss.

But a year later things start to fall apart. Strange, mysterious letters begin to arrive in the mail for Pandora, each saying the same thing, a single sentence: Do not be afraid of what you want. So begins the downward spiral....

One night, several weeks after the letters stop—just as mysteriously as they'd started—Noah wakes to find Pandora's bloody corpse lying next to him in bed, her breasts cut off, blood running over and between her legs and all over the sheets. Noah leaps from bed to call for emergency services but upon returning to his bedroom with the police, he finds the corpse gone!

So begins Noah's search for answers. Leaving his ordered existence behind, he begins his life on the run, abducting a strangely odd private investigator with a penchant for mystic visions to aid him in his search. Pandora's uncertain past doesn't leave much to go on, beyond the odd murmurings of the psychic Venus, but their trip leads them from the city to the lush depravity of the desert and Las Vegas, where they meet an even stranger man named Lazarus: a sculptor who is able to mirror the features and expressions of others on his own face. And Noah is certain that Lazurus holds the key to Pandora's mysterious disappearance.

Though fairly short, this haunting story will will stay with you long after you've put it down. But I do recommend taking the time to understand the deeper meaning behind it. Yeah, it's pretty freaky at face value, but even more so when you relate the whole thing to the mythical Pandora of legend. :)

BookCrossing journal page for this book