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by Ilie Ruby

Pub Date: Sept. 4th, 2012
ISBN: 978-1-61902-002-3
Publisher: Soft Skull Press

When a blue moon rises, mistakes can be undone, lost children can find their homes, and sea lions can shed their skins.

The selkie myth lies at the heart of Ruby’s (The Language of Trees, 2010) second novel. Born with a webbed foot, young Naida yearns for her mysterious father. But to understand his role in her life, she must first understand the stories of the women who came before her. The story swirls back to begin with her mother’s tale. Ruthie and her sister, Dolly, grow up on the road with their mother, Diana, sleeping in their car, cursing in Yiddish, eluding mud slides and even picking strawberries as day workers. Ritually consulting her Farmer’s Almanac, like Bottom in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Diana moves her small family on. Is Diana simply restless, or is she fleeing something or someone? Eventually, Diana finagles her way into a real job at the beachside Twin Palms hotel. Her daughters embrace not only school, but also the wildness of the sea and town life. After Diana’s death, the girls strangely find themselves under the guardianship of three kind nuns. On the cusp of womanhood, however, Ruthie is attacked, and as she grieves, she weeps seven tears into the sea. Just as the moon cycles, so do women’s lives, and Ruthie returns to Twin Palms, which has become the Wild Acres retirement home, where she cares for others. Under a blue moon, Ruthie meets Graham, a Scottish fisherman whose soul calls to hers. Graham’s love for Ruthie is intense, yet his presence ebbs and flows like the tide. What gifts has he bestowed on his daughter, Naida?

This is a bewitching tale of lives entangled in lushly layered fables of the moon and sea.