—jacks: a gothic gospel


jacks is my first novel and is a bit of a hybrid, part fairy tale, part prose poem and part experimental narrative. It was published in 1998 by Livres DC Books in Montreal. Billy Mavreas, whose posters document so much of the Montreal performance and underground cultural scene, did the cover image. (I sat down with Billy, and he asked me to tell him about the character. Twenty minutes later, I saw the main character surface on the page. Billy’s image was perfect.)

jacks has a recursive logic; it’s a story in which narrative lines repeat and curl inwards. A mad little girl tries to make sense of a world misshapen by violence, and comes to see those around her as the jacks of nursery rhymes and fable; a mythic bride suffers narcoleptic fits, mistakes a cob of corn for her husband, dreams her way outside the bounds of the story; a later incarnation of the girl, now grown, finds herself confined to a tidy little box, and turns, like ugly tricks, the dominant tropes of psychology and female sexuality.

You can pick jacks up through your local bookstore (you’ll probably have to order it in), or through amazon.


jacks tangles the reader in a kind of rhythmic spell, which Stone achieves in part by creating carefully skewed repetitions, echoing significant words, phrases and characters in slightly different ways. The story becomes its own untelling.”
Geist (Vancouver, Spring/Summer ’99)

“The resulting sensation is quite literally that of a movie camera which physically tracks in closer to its object while the camera lens zooms out — a technique Hitchcock developed to simulate vertigo for his film of the same title. One falls while floating. Wakes, while dreaming. Swaps one’s soul for another, and emerges from the corn-husk bride’s Bosque Perdue swamp a ghost of one’s former self but alive enough to relate the tale. jacks is testament to the fact that something which rips you from your own skin is not necessarily only an act of violence, but also a way out — perhaps even a form of strange celebration. ”
Hour (Montréal, 22 January 1999).

“It is the disjunction of narrative, the repetitive accretion of story, myth, dreams, and memories that make Stone’s book both difficult and fascinating. In her method of assembling and designing her text, Stone calls to mind Diane Schoemperlen and her most recent book, Forms of Devotion.”
Books in Canada (1999)

“… there is much to anticipate from this experimental writer. ”
Montreal Review of Books (Spring & Summer, 1999)