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From the Costa Book of the Year-winning author of Days Without End
Even when you come out of bloodshed and disaster in the end you have got to learn to live.
Winona is a young Lakota orphan adopted by former soldiers Thomas McNulty and John Cole.
Living with Thomas and John on the farm they work in 1870s Tennessee, she is educated and loved, forging a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past. But the fragile harmony of her unlikely family unit, in the aftermath of the Civil War, is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront, let alone understand.
Told in Sebastian Barry's gorgeous, lyrical prose, A Thousand Moons is a powerful, moving study of one woman's journey, of her determination to write her own future, and of the enduring human capacity for love.
'Nobody writes like, nobody takes lyrical risks like, nobody pushes the language, and the heart, and the two together, quite like Sebastian Barry does, so that you come out of whatever he writes like you've been away, in another climate.' ALI SMITH
Barry's mournful sequel to Days Without End focuses on Winona Cole as she navigates the dangers of Reconstruction-era Tennessee and carries the memory of her dead Lakota family. Surrounded by ex-rebels too disgruntled by the Union victory and abolition to "breathe the air of peace," Winona has a hard time telling criminals from law enforcement in formerly-Confederate West Tennessee, as rebels regain the right to vote and black men freed from slavery find their newfound rights attacked. After Winona and former slave Tennyson Bouguereau are inexplicably beaten, she thinks back on her warrior mother and wonders what bravery and justice mean to an impoverished, Native woman that the local whites see as "closer to a wolf than a woman." As Winona rides out with the Freedmen militia to avenge the attacks, she narrowly cheats death, leading her to a spiritual experience that connects her with ancestors. In Winona, who sees both the beauty and the piercing loss of her world, Barry has created a vivid if didactic heroine ("Whitemen in the main just see slaves and Indians. They don't see the single souls"). This earnest tale will stay with readers.