“Behind the Moon is a satisfying, original and thought-provoking pleasure.”—Good Reading Magazine
“Neatly balanc[es] betrayal and real drama, with farce and macabre, biting humour. . . . Highly recommended.”—Australian Bookseller & Publisher
Outsiders and misfits in their Australian school, three friends form a mutual bond: Justin Cheong, an only child and the idol of his Singaporean-Chinese parents; Tien Ho—daughter of a Vietnamese mother who stayed behind and an African American soldier she has never met—who lives with indifferent relatives; and Nigel “Gibbo” Gibson, an oddity: an Australian boy who, to his father’s chagrin, dislikes sports.
When Tien Ho’s mother arrives, the adjustment for mother and daughter is extreme. Gibbo is strongly attracted to beautiful, dainty Linh, to whom he is a kid, her daughter’s pal. And Justin discovers that he likes Gibbo as something more than a friend.
The three draw apart as they grow up, only to be reunited once more on Saturday, September 6, 1997, for the dinner Mrs. Cheong hosts for them and their parents, to watch the funeral of Princess Diana on television. This Dead Diana Dinner turns out to be a more explosive event than any of them would have dreamed possible.
A trio of "social cripples" meander through their Australian upbringings in Teo's disappointing sophomore novel (after Love and Vertigo). The social cripples in question are Justin, the gay child of Chinese immigrants; Tien Ho, the bitter out-of-wedlock daughter of a Vietnamese mother and African-American father; and Gibbo, a chubby white Australian who falls in love with Tien's mother. Their story centers on two reunions, a disastrous dinner party following the death of Princess Diana and a more somber gathering at Justin's hospital bed after a gay bashing. Unfortunately, overinflated prose (the characters are said to "lean and groan and cheer each other on... limping along the yellow brick road towards that place where there will be no trouble") and razor-thin characters spoil the narrative's possibilities.