“If you’re the devil, then it’s not me telling this story.” How can a book that opens like that not be the perfect combination of intimate and epic? Tom Spanbauer’s iconic tale of the (very quirky, very particular) Old West follows the lives of Idaho madam Ida Richlieu, widowed prostitute Alma Hatch, Montana cowboy Dellwood Barker, and narrator “Shed,” a half-Shoshone bisexual young man seeking love in a hostile world. Written with his brilliant mastery of voice and detail and his wealth of wisdom and insight, Spanbauer’s saga of race, sexuality, cruelty, and humanity has deservedly become a true classic of Pacific Northwest fiction. Recommended By Gigi L., Powells.com
Synopses & Reviews
Set against the harsh reality of an unforgiving landscape and culture, The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon provides a vision of the Old West unlike anything seen before.
The narrator, Shed, is one of the most memorable characters in contemporary fiction: a half-Indian bisexual boy who lives and works at the Indian Head Hotel in the tiny town of Excellent, Idaho. It's the turn of the century, and the hotel carries on a prosperous business as the town's brothel. The eccentric characters working in the hotel provide Shed with a surrogate family, yet he finds in himself a growing need to learn the meaning of his Indian name, Duivichi-un-Dua, given to him by his mother, who was murdered when he was twelve. Setting off alone across the haunting plains, Shed goes in search of an identity among his true people, encountering a rich pageant of extraordinary characters along the way. Although he learns a great deal about the mysteries and traditions of his Indian heritage, it is not until Shed returns to Excellent and witnesses a series of brutal tragedies that he attains the wisdom that infuses this exceptional and captivating book.
“Haunting and earthy, this deeply felt tale of love and loss… Spanbauer fuses raunchy dialogue, pathos, local color, heartbreak and a serious investigation of racism in this stunning narrative.” Publishers Weekly
The miracle of this novel it that it obliges us to rethink our whole idea of narration and history and myth. Tom Spanbauer's wild West is the hurly-burly of the mind. He takes us into territories where few of us would ever dare to go.” New York Times Book Review
“Gender and racial lines are bent out of shape in this tale of turn-of-the-century Idaho spun by a youth who is part Indian, not quite wholly homosexual, and in the grip of a powerful imagination. Spanbauer creates a pansexual West that John Wayne wouldn't have recognized.” Kirkus Reviews
“Every once in a while a reviewer comes across a book that seems so startlingly original and true that it redeems everything: art, life, the human spirit, a reviewer’s job… Tom Spanbauer’s novel The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon is such a book.” Willamette Week