A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this brilliant, powerful, and unforgettable new novel by the author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky.
For years Helen Knightly has given her life to others: to her haunted mother, to her enigmatic father, to her husband and now grown children. When she finally crosses a terrible boundary, her life comes rushing in at her in a way she never could have imagined. Unfolding over the next twenty-four hours, this searing, fast-paced novel explores the complex ties between mothers and daughters, wives and lovers, the meaning of devotion, and the line between love and hate. It is a challenging, moving, gripping story, written with the fluidity and strength of voice that only Alice Sebold can bring to the page.
Joan Allen fails to breathe sufficient life into Alice Sebold's second novel to make it worth the listen, but she really doesn't have much to work with. Helen Knightly, a divorced mother of two grown daughters, impulsively murders her 88-year-old mother, Claire. The story then flips back and forth between Helen's response to her present-day act and long flashbacks exploring her love/hate relationships with her emotionally volatile, agoraphobic mother and her suicidal, peculiarly obsessed father. Allen's calm, even voice makes Helen's most irrational actions (smothering her mother, cutting her clothes off, bathing her dead body and dragging it down to the basement) sound nearly as reasonable to listeners as they do to Helen. Allen also marvelously evokes the cracked, demented tones of Helen's aged mother. Unfortunately, the older Claire Knightly appears in only the smallest portion of the book, and Allen barely troubles to distinguish the voices of the other characters. Her unvarying voice, combined with the tediously introspective text, make this audio a real slog. Simultaneous release with the Little, Brown hardcover (Reviews, Aug. 27).
The Almost Moon
Depressing book. Leaves you empty.
For Survivors of Abuse
This book does not deserve all of the terrible reviews it has here. This suspense filled novel is riveting, dark and full of raw emotion. The story takes place over just one full day but is interspersed with flashbacks of the main character’s childhood. For child abuse survivors this book will resonate deeply. I devoured it in a day or two because I couldn’t put it down.
Not a strong followup
I'm one of the chorus singing a song of disappointment. While Lovely Bones was far from a perfect novel, the compelling story, likable characters, and generally well-crafted writing made up for most of that story's deficiencies.
Not so, with Almost Moon.
I found the main characters difficult to like, and yet I always felt like I was supposed to be rooting for them. The agoraphobic, narcissistic mother was the character I found most compelling, but the way the story is written, this isn't actually a book about her. The main character, for whom I think we are supposed to feel SOMETHING, left me flat and uninterested.
Stylistically, the narrative slips in and out of the past in ways that are often more confusing than artistic and the narrative flow is jumpy and uneven.
The ending of Almost Moon left me cold and unsatisfied.
As a writer, I don't consider this a waste of time. I think it is very instructional, actually...but I wonder how many Lovely Bones fans will read this book and leave with an unhappy experience?