For Steve, who sees.
And for Anne, who believes.
At its core, this is a book about perception. About seeing who a person really is at his or her core and believing in them. Most of the time when we look at others, we see a blurry picture of a person based on surface appearances and casual observations, then bring them into focus with our own assumptions and prejudices, largely defining them based on who we are, not who they are. It's a rare and valuable thing to look and really see, to let a person fully define him or herself to us without our faulty interpretations.
Roza has the gift of truly seeing people, and everyone adores her for it. Unfortunately, few return the favor, getting stuck on her extraordinary surface beauty. Sean and Finn come close. The two brothers took her in when she appeared in their barn out of nowhere. She became a fixture in their small community and Sean was prepared to propose when she just as mysteriously disappeared. Finn claims she was abducted, but his story is vague, his description of the abductor is confusing, and there were no other witnesses. No one believes him, and many--Sean most of all--blame him for playing with their emotions by making things up, and Finn blames himself for not doing anything. He wants desperately to make things better, but that won't happen until he realizes the key to doing so is learning to really see.
For a story about seeing clearly, Bone Gap often feels blurry. It's surreal and dream-like: it blurs reality with subtle myth and magic; it--story and characters--starts somewhat confusing and undefined, and only comes into focus near its end; and it blurs genre, convention, and reader expectations to tell a unique and original story. It deconstructs, in many ways, our unconscious approaches to beauty, attraction, and possession and teaches us, through the process of gradually coming to see Finn and Roza, a better way to know and believe in others.
A tangential thought that doesn't really comment on the book except to mention Ruby doesn't just tell a wonderful story, she uses language wonderfully in doing so. I now want to name a band or album or event or something similar: Cavorting with Goat-Legged Men.
(From the sentence: "On the walls hung portraits of dukes and kings and strange goddesses cavorting with goat-legged men.")