THE MOONSTONERS

From the Moon Trilogy series , Vol. 1

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

Awards & Accolades

Our Verdict

  • Our Verdict
  • GET IT

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

Categories:

THE JOY LUCK CLUB

With lantern-lit tales of old China, a rich humanity, and an acute ear for bicultural tuning, a splendid first novel—one...

An inordinately moving, electric exploration of two warring cultures fused in love, focused on the lives of four Chinese women—who emigrated, in their youth, at various times, to San Francisco—and their very American 30-ish daughters.

Tan probes the tension of love and often angry bewilderment as the older women watch their daughters "as from another shore," and the daughters struggle to free themselves from maddening threads of arcane obligation. More than the gap between generations, more than the dwindling of old ways, the Chinese mothers most fear that their own hopes and truths—the secret gardens of the spirit that they have cultivated in the very worst of times—will not take root. A Chinese mother's responsibility here is to "give [my daughter] my spirit." The Joy Luck Club, begun in 1939 San Francisco, was a re-creation of the Club founded by Suyuan Woo in a beleaguered Chinese city. There, in the stench of starvation and death, four women told their "good stories," tried their luck with mah-jongg, laughed, and "feasted" on scraps. Should we, thought Suyuan, "wait for death or choose our own happiness?" Now, the Chinese women in America tell their stories (but not to their daughters or to one another): in China, an unwilling bride uses her wits, learns that she is "strong. . .like the wind"; another witnesses the suicide of her mother; and there are tales of terror, humiliation and despair. One recognizes fate but survives. But what of the American daughters—in turn grieved, furious, exasperated, amused ("You can't ever tell a Chinese mother to shut up")? The daughters, in their confessional chapters, have attempted childhood rebellions—like the young chess champion; ever on maternal display, who learned that wiles of the chessboard did not apply when opposing Mother, who had warned her: "Strongest wind cannot be seen." Other daughters—in adulthood, in crises, and drifting or upscale life-styles—tilt with mothers, one of whom wonders: "How can she be her own person? When did I give her up?"

With lantern-lit tales of old China, a rich humanity, and an acute ear for bicultural tuning, a splendid first novel—one that matches the vigor and sensitivity of Maxine Hong Kingston (The Warrior Woman, 1976; China Men, 1980) in her tributes to the abundant heritage of Chinese-Americans.

Pub Date: March 22, 1989

ISBN: 0143038095

Page Count: -

Publisher: Putnam

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Feb. 15, 1989

Categories:

ROOFTOPS OF TEHRAN

Refreshingly filled with love rather than sex, this coming-of-age novel examines the human cost of political repression.

A star-crossed romance captures the turmoil of pre-revolutionary Iran in Seraji’s debut.

From the rooftops of Tehran in 1973, life looks pretty good to 17-year-old Pasha Shahed and his friend Ahmed. They’re bright, funny and good-looking; they’re going to graduate from high school in a year; and they’re in love with a couple of the neighborhood girls. But all is not idyllic. At first the girls scarcely know the boys are alive, and one of them, Zari, is engaged to Doctor—not actually a doctor but an exceptionally gifted and politically committed young Iranian. In this neighborhood, the Shah is a subject of contempt rather than veneration, and residents fear SAVAK, the state’s secret police force, which operates without any restraint. Pasha, the novel’s narrator and prime dreamer, focuses on two key periods in his life: the summer and fall of 1973, when his life is going rather well, and the winter of 1974, when he’s incarcerated in a grim psychiatric hospital. Among the traumatic events he relates are the sudden arrest, imprisonment and presumed execution of Doctor. Pasha feels terrible because he fears he might have inadvertently been responsible for SAVAK having located Doctor’s hiding place; he also feels guilty because he’s always been in love with Zari. She makes a dramatic political statement, setting herself on fire and sending Pasha into emotional turmoil. He is both devastated and further worried when the irrepressible Ahmed also seems to come under suspicion for political activity. Pasha turns bitterly against religion, raising the question of God’s existence in a world in which the bad guys seem so obviously in the ascendant. Yet the badly scarred Zari assures him, “Things will change—they always do.”

Refreshingly filled with love rather than sex, this coming-of-age novel examines the human cost of political repression.

Pub Date: May 5, 2009

ISBN: 978-0-451-22681-5

Page Count: 368

Publisher: NAL/Berkley

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: May 1, 2009

Categories:
Close Quickview