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1 Beaverton Literature- A to Z

The Almost Moon: A Novel

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The Almost Moon: A Novel Cover

ISBN13: 9780316677462
ISBN10: 0316677469
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily.

So begins The Almost Moon, Alice Sebold's astonishing, brilliant, and daring new novel. A woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this unforgettable work 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.

Review:

"Sebold's disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator's statement that she has killed her mother. Helen Knightly, herself the mother of two daughters and an art class model old enough to be the mother of the students who sketch her nude figure, is the dutiful but resentful caretaker for her senile 88-year-old mother, Clair. One day, traumatized by the stink of Clair's voided bowels and determined to bathe her, Helen succumbs to 'a life-long dream' and smothers Clair, who had sucked 'the life out of [Helen] day by day, year by year.' After dragging Clair's corpse into the cellar and phoning her ex-husband to confess her crime, Helen has sex with her best friend's 30-year-old 'blond-god doofus' son. Jumping between past and present, Sebold reveals the family's fractured past (insane, agoraphobic mother; tormented father, dead by suicide) and creates a portrait of Clair that resembles Sebold's own mother as portrayed in her memoir, Lucky. While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother's hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen's handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)

Review:

"Alice Sebold makes us listen to women we don't want to listen to: a rape victim, a murdered teenager and, now, a daughter who's smothered her elderly mother to death. She attends to the kinds of people who, historically, have been doubted, ignored or shamed into silence. She can describe shocking acts of violence and long periods of recovery in prose that is at once deeply sympathetic and surprisingly... Washington Post Book Review (read the entire Washington Post review)

Review:

"The pace is superb, a slow tease that alternates between calm, reflective flashbacks and tense, tight descriptions of Helen's attempts to hide her crime and avoid the police....A daring, devastating novel; highly recommended." Library Journal

Review:

"[A]n emotionally raw novel that is, at times, almost too painful to read....Sebold brings to the portrait such honesty and empathy that many will find their own dark impulses reflected here; however, it is so unremittingly bleak that it seems unlikely that it will be greeted with the same enthusiasm as her debut." Booklist

Review:

"[A]nnoying, unconvincing and deeply perplexing. Although it shares some themes with Ms. Sebold's acclaimed best seller, The Lovely Bones...this volume demonstrates none of the psychological acuity or emotional chiaroscuro of that earlier book." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

Review:

"[A]nother home run, a story with a plot wholly different from The Lovely Bones but just as beautifully constructed, fearless and fast-paced....[A] breathless read....[I]t ventures into startling new territory." Rocky Mountain News

Review:

"Alas, Alice Sebold's follow-up to her bestselling debut...is not the grisly sexed-up gothic it initially appears, but a banal and earnest family psychodrama about crummy parents and the wounded children who hate them. (Grade: C)" Entertainment Weekly

Review:

"The book does have its flaws, but more on the scale of blips than full narrative derailments....Along with its buoying dark wit, it is this eerily familiar blurred line between sane and insane that makes The Almost Moon simultaneously uncomfortable and absorbing." San Francisco Chronicle

Review:

"Several sections of The Almost Moon demonstrate that Sebold can still write beautiful, haunting scenes, but there are enough jarring missteps here to make anyone wonder why she sabotages herself." The Washington Post Book World

Review:

"Sebold writes just as beautifully here, with the same knack for stating truths page after page....This novel is a fiercely written, risky work, and it is, by its very nature, unpleasant." Houston Chronicle

Review:

"Despite the promise deep in The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon turns out to be almost bad, dull at the least, and that's a shame." Miami Herald

Review:

"[W]hile she is capable of astute observation and some intriguing sentences, reading The Almost Moon is akin to swallowing bile....When you are tempted [to pick up The Almost Moon] at the bookstore or the library, please remember two words: 'Vomit City.'" Cleveland Plain Dealer

Review:

"Moon is so antic, so over the top that you keep turning the pages in a frenzy of disbelief....Is there a literary prize for most cringe-worthy sentence in a single work of fiction?" USA Today

Review:

"[A] story that no one other than Chuck Palahniuk would ever call 'heartwarming.'" Christian Science Monitor

Synopsis:

When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily. So begins Alice Sebold's astonishing, brilliant, and daring new novel, in which a woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this unforgettable work by the author of The Lovely Bones.

About the Author

Alice Sebold is the bestselling author of The Lovely Bones and Lucky: A Memoir. She lives in California with her husband, the novelist Glen David Gold.

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 7 comments:

meredycat, May 18, 2008 (view all comments by meredycat)
In this novel that deals with an intensely tragic subject (Alzheimer's Disease) Sebold lyrically braids a story with emotion and lovely prose in a dark, gothic story that will move the soul.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(6 of 13 readers found this comment helpful)
Tracy, January 30, 2008 (view all comments by Tracy)
If you liked Alice Sebold's "The Lovely Bones", you will love "The Almost Moon". Sebold has a classy but readable way of writing on the most peculiar subjects! In The Almost Moon the main character murders her mother. It seems so realistic and the main character seems somehow reasonable in her actions.
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(7 of 12 readers found this comment helpful)
pamela feutz, November 29, 2007 (view all comments by pamela feutz)
SInce her previous book, "THE LOVELY BONES" I have been waiting for a new book from Alice Sebold. I had no idea what to expect!

This was a book like I have never read before. I found it distrubing and appauling at times. I never really felt compassion for Helen,but I don't think Alice wanted us to feel compassion for this character. I believe she was just telling a story of a very flawed human being.

This book is worth a read and you wont be able to put it down, because you want to know how the book ends. It takes place in a span of 24 hrs and yet you learn everything there is to know about Helen and her parents. This sheds a light on mental illness that we somehow forget. IT DOES imapct EVERYONE in the family. Alice is a great writer. I do realize that not everyone with appreciate this read. But that is how it is with all books.

Try this book. If nothing else, it will getting you thinking and talking. What more can a book ask????
Was this comment helpful? | Yes | No
(10 of 18 readers found this comment helpful)
View all 7 comments

Product Details

ISBN:
9780316677462
Subtitle:
A Novel
Author:
Sebold, Alice
Publisher:
Little, Brown and Company
Subject:
General
Subject:
Mothers and daughters
Subject:
Literary
Subject:
Psychological fiction
Subject:
Literature-A to Z
Subject:
General Fiction
Subject:
Mothers and daughters; Elderly women; Murder; Dysfunctional families; Childhood memories; Husbands and wives; Matricide; Family relationships
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st
Publication Date:
October 16, 2007
Binding:
Hardback
Language:
English
Pages:
304
Dimensions:
8.5 x 6 x 1.375 in 1.32 lb

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z
Fiction and Poetry » Literature » Family Life

The Almost Moon: A Novel Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$3.50 In Stock
Product details 304 pages Little Brown and Company - English 9780316677462 Reviews:
"Publishers Weekly Review" by , "Sebold's disappointing second novel (after much-lauded The Lovely Bones) opens with the narrator's statement that she has killed her mother. Helen Knightly, herself the mother of two daughters and an art class model old enough to be the mother of the students who sketch her nude figure, is the dutiful but resentful caretaker for her senile 88-year-old mother, Clair. One day, traumatized by the stink of Clair's voided bowels and determined to bathe her, Helen succumbs to 'a life-long dream' and smothers Clair, who had sucked 'the life out of [Helen] day by day, year by year.' After dragging Clair's corpse into the cellar and phoning her ex-husband to confess her crime, Helen has sex with her best friend's 30-year-old 'blond-god doofus' son. Jumping between past and present, Sebold reveals the family's fractured past (insane, agoraphobic mother; tormented father, dead by suicide) and creates a portrait of Clair that resembles Sebold's own mother as portrayed in her memoir, Lucky. While Helen has clearly suffered at her mother's hands, the matricide is woefully contrived, and Helen's handling of the body and her subsequent actions seem almost slapstick. Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"Review" by , "The pace is superb, a slow tease that alternates between calm, reflective flashbacks and tense, tight descriptions of Helen's attempts to hide her crime and avoid the police....A daring, devastating novel; highly recommended."
"Review" by , "[A]n emotionally raw novel that is, at times, almost too painful to read....Sebold brings to the portrait such honesty and empathy that many will find their own dark impulses reflected here; however, it is so unremittingly bleak that it seems unlikely that it will be greeted with the same enthusiasm as her debut."
"Review" by , "[A]nnoying, unconvincing and deeply perplexing. Although it shares some themes with Ms. Sebold's acclaimed best seller, The Lovely Bones...this volume demonstrates none of the psychological acuity or emotional chiaroscuro of that earlier book."
"Review" by , "[A]nother home run, a story with a plot wholly different from The Lovely Bones but just as beautifully constructed, fearless and fast-paced....[A] breathless read....[I]t ventures into startling new territory."
"Review" by , "Alas, Alice Sebold's follow-up to her bestselling debut...is not the grisly sexed-up gothic it initially appears, but a banal and earnest family psychodrama about crummy parents and the wounded children who hate them. (Grade: C)"
"Review" by , "The book does have its flaws, but more on the scale of blips than full narrative derailments....Along with its buoying dark wit, it is this eerily familiar blurred line between sane and insane that makes The Almost Moon simultaneously uncomfortable and absorbing."
"Review" by , "Several sections of The Almost Moon demonstrate that Sebold can still write beautiful, haunting scenes, but there are enough jarring missteps here to make anyone wonder why she sabotages herself."
"Review" by , "Sebold writes just as beautifully here, with the same knack for stating truths page after page....This novel is a fiercely written, risky work, and it is, by its very nature, unpleasant."
"Review" by , "Despite the promise deep in The Lovely Bones, The Almost Moon turns out to be almost bad, dull at the least, and that's a shame."
"Review" by , "[W]hile she is capable of astute observation and some intriguing sentences, reading The Almost Moon is akin to swallowing bile....When you are tempted [to pick up The Almost Moon] at the bookstore or the library, please remember two words: 'Vomit City.'"
"Review" by , "Moon is so antic, so over the top that you keep turning the pages in a frenzy of disbelief....Is there a literary prize for most cringe-worthy sentence in a single work of fiction?"
"Review" by , "[A] story that no one other than Chuck Palahniuk would ever call 'heartwarming.'"
"Synopsis" by , When all is said and done, killing my mother came easily. So begins Alice Sebold's astonishing, brilliant, and daring new novel, in which a woman steps over the line into the unthinkable in this unforgettable work by the author of The Lovely Bones.
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