Review: ‘The World from Jar’

Julia Konwick ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

The end of the semester means another book launch from Emerson College’s own publishing house, Wilde Press. The Emerson Undergraduate Students for Publishing Club, affectionately known as Pub Club among the members, have edited and designed covers for Wilde’s most recent publications, a poetry collection and Young Adult fantasy novella. The novella, The World from Jar by Rebecca Crandall, which was released December 9th, 2014, is about a magical creature called a flit who lives her life in a jar, awaiting the day she will animate a puppet and become a human child, and gets stolen from the shop in which she lives. The thief and his accomplice end up being a pair of teenagers who want to change the way their society treats flits and humans alike, and the flit around who the story revolves decides to help them in this task.

Crandall has created an interesting and well-developed world for her story in which humans no longer reproduce on their own and must rely on the flits and carpenters who make puppets to keep the human race alive. She includes a unique set of societal roles and magic that weave into the setting almost seamlessly, something rather difficult to do in only eighty pages, and creates a series of appropriately contained conflicts to go along with it. The over-arching conflict of the flits and humans provides an intriguing background plot to solidify the smaller conflicts into which the three main characters get themselves.

The characters of the novella are also surprisingly rounded and dynamic for such a small piece, and have a complex relationship between them that is quite remarkable considering that the narrator cannot talk. Her interactions with the people outside of the jar are strictly gesture-based, yet this does not create a barrier amongst them. It also does not drag the narrative down with excessive inner monologue, which is usually the case with stories that have limited dialogue told from the first person. For this, Crandall must be commended. The narration is lively and engaging enough to avoid being off-putting, despite its bulk.

Overall, Crandall provides a good read for anyone who likes a nice fantasy story with undertones of revolutionary ideas. There are only a few problems in the narrative that, had the piece been longer, would have worked themselves out. Readers are left with a couple of world-building questions, like “Why don’t the humans reproduce naturally anymore?” and “Are they even able to at this point? If not, why?” Another question would be how the flits reproduce, something that is mentioned only briefly toward the end. Had the writer been given more room, these are all things that would have, presumably been touched upon. The novella does end with the larger story just beginning, and it will be the hope of all to see either a sequel to this book or have it be the beginning section to a larger work sometime in the future. Pub Club has most definitely picked a winner this semester.

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