A gripping family story for those strong enough for the emotional journey.

THE MOONSTONERS

From the Moon Trilogy series , Vol. 1

A novel presents a tale of tormented and damaged characters against the backdrop of the turbulent 1960s.

The story revolves—no, churns—around Noël Trudeau, whom readers first meet as a youngster while her family is fleeing north from Hyssop, Louisiana, in the dead of night. Something truly horrible has happened, something that will remain secret for some 200 pages (this is a book of secrets). Then readers find Noël in Langston, Indiana, where she and her toddler son, Adam, have escaped a marriage to a brutal abuser and where young Ricky Ziemny is hopelessly in love with her. She begins timorously to allow the possibility of romance, but it is Ricky’s brother, Leon, whom she falls in love with and marries. The union is tempestuous: The Trudeaus are leery of Leon, the Ziemnys of Noël. Meanwhile—these are just the high (or low) points—her oldest brother is killed in Vietnam and her younger brother, Adam, who dreamed of becoming a surgeon, returns minus an arm. There are suicides, a mental breakdown, and screaming confrontations (especially as the long-held secrets come spilling out). An apothegm from Pascal sets the tone: “When one does not love too much, one does not love enough.” This sets the stage for Noël’s final musing on two kinds of love: “The love you could live with, and the love you couldn’t live without.” Given these truths, the characters are whipsawed big-time. Dzikowski (Searching for Lincoln’s Ghost, 2011) is a passionate writer and her background in counseling has likely contributed much to her prose and outlook. But one needn’t be a Pollyanna to sometimes shout: “Enough already! Enough trauma, enough heartbreak!” On the other hand, one cannot deny the real power of the book. Readers will be drawn into caring deeply about these terribly tortured characters and bracing for the next inevitable tragic turn. This is the first volume of a trilogy; may the sequels bring a measure of relief.

A gripping family story for those strong enough for the emotional journey.

Pub Date: July 20, 2019

ISBN: 978-0-9840305-3-8

Page Count: 368

Publisher: Wiara Books

Review Posted Online: May 30, 2019

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PET SEMATARY

This novel began as a reworking of W.W. Jacobs' horror classic "The Monkey's Paw"—a short story about the dreadful outcome when a father wishes for his dead son's resurrection. And King's 400-page version reads, in fact, like a monstrously padded short story, moving so slowly that every plot-turn becomes lumberingly predictable. Still, readers with a taste for the morbid and ghoulish will find unlimited dark, mortality-obsessed atmosphere here—as Dr. Louis Creed arrives in Maine with wife Rachel and their two little kids Ellie and Gage, moving into a semi-rural house not far from the "Pet Sematary": a spot in the woods where local kids have been burying their pets for decades. Louis, 35, finds a great new friend/father-figure in elderly neighbor Jud Crandall; he begins work as director of the local university health-services. But Louis is oppressed by thoughts of death—especially after a dying student whispers something about the pet cemetery, then reappears in a dream (but is it a dream) to lead Louis into those woods during the middle of the night. What is the secret of the Pet Sematary? Well, eventually old Jud gives Louis a lecture/tour of the Pet Sematary's "annex"—an old Micmac burying ground where pets have been buried. . .and then reappeared alive! So, when little Ellie's beloved cat Church is run over (while Ellie's visiting grandfolks), Louis and Jud bury it in the annex—resulting in a faintly nasty resurrection: Church reappears, now with a foul smell and a creepy demeanor. But: what would happen if a human corpse were buried there? That's the question when Louis' little son Gage is promptly killed in an accident. Will grieving father Louis dig up his son's body from the normal graveyard and replant it in the Pet Sematary? What about the stories of a previous similar attempt—when dead Timmy Baterman was "transformed into some sort of all-knowing daemon?" Will Gage return to the living—but as "a thing of evil?" He will indeed, spouting obscenities and committing murder. . .before Louis must eliminate this child-demon he has unleashed. Filled out with overdone family melodrama (the feud between Louis and his father-in-law) and repetitious inner monologues: a broody horror tale that's strong on dark, depressing chills, weak on suspense or surprise—and not likely to please the fans of King's zestier, livelier terror-thons.

Pub Date: Nov. 4, 1983

ISBN: 0743412281

Page Count: 420

Publisher: Doubleday

Review Posted Online: Sept. 26, 2011

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1983

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KITCHEN

Young writer Yoshimoto's first full-length fiction to appear in the US—an excerpt of which appeared in New Japanese Voices (1991; ed. by Helen Mitsios)—explores love and loss with a distinctly contemporary sensibility. The source of what has been described as ``Bananamania'' in her native Japan, Yoshimoto combines traditional sensitivity to nuance and setting with a youthful sense of belonging to a wider, less specifically Japanese world—characters jog, eat Kentucky Fried chicken, and listen to American music: a combination that, apparently, made this novel—in reality two separate stories united by a theme of loss and survival—an instant success among younger Japanese. In the story of the title, the narrator Mikage has lost her last remaining relative, a beloved grandmother with whom she lived. Grieving, she finds comfort only in the apartment kitchen- -``the hum of the refrigerator kept me from thinking of my loneliness.'' An invitation by Yuichi, a fellow student and friend of her grandmother's, to move in temporarily with him and his mother, Eriko, is gladly accepted. Mikage, who declares she loves kitchens best—they are to her symbol of life and survival—falls immediately in love with the new kitchen. Generous and glamorous Eriko, actually a transvestite—she was Yuichi's father—makes her feel at home, and Mikage, a survivor, is soon on her feet with her own apartment and a job, cooking for a TV show. But when Eriko is murdered, Mikage is there with an effective mix of common sense and love to help the grieving Yuichi recover. The second (much shorter) story, ``Moonlight Shadow,'' lyrically describes the journey that a young woman and man—who've both lost their beloveds in an accident—make from debilitating grief through an almost dreamlike landscape in which the dead appear to an acceptance that life, a ``flowing river,'' must go on. Timeless emotions, elegantly evoked with impressive originality and strength.

Pub Date: Jan. 1, 1993

ISBN: 0-8021-1516-0

Page Count: 160

Publisher: Grove

Review Posted Online: May 20, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

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