A thousand moons A novel

Sebastian Barry, 1955-

Book - 2020

"A dazzling new novel about memory and identity set in Paris, Tennessee in the aftermath of the American civil war from the Booker Prize shortlisted author Winona Cole, an orphaned child of the Lakota Indians, finds herself growing up in an unconventional household on a farm in West Tennessee. Raised by her adoptive father John Cole and his brother-in-arms Thomas McNulty, this odd little family scrapes a living on Lige Magan's farm with the help two freed slaves, the Bougereau siblings.... They try to keep the brutal outside world at bay, along with their memories of the past. But Tennessee is a state still riven by the bitter legacy of the civil war and when first Winona and then Tennyson Bouguereau are violently attacked by forces unknown, Colonel Purton raises the Militia to quell the rebels and night-riders who are massing on the outskirts of town. Armed with a knife, Tennyson's borrowed gun and the courage of her famous warrior mother Winona decides to take matters into her own hands and embarks on a quest for justice which will uncover the dark secrets of her past and finally reveal to her who she really is. Exquisitely written and thrumming with the irrepressible spirit of a young girl on the brink of adulthood, A Thousand Moons is a glorious story of love and redemption."--Publisher's description.

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Historical fiction
New York : Viking [2020]
Item Description
First published in Great Britain by Faber & Faber in 2020.
Physical Description
238 pages ; 22 cm
Main Author
Sebastian Barry, 1955- (author)
Review by Booklist Review

Irish writer Barry continues the story begun in Days Without End (2017), revisiting Civil War vets Thomas McNulty and John Cole and their adopted Sioux daughter, Winona, a decade later. Winona, now 16, is happy with her found family, which includes her two romantically involved adopted fathers as well as Rosalee and Tennyson, formerly enslaved, now emancipated sister and brother. But she still dreams of her warrior mother, who was killed by white men along with the rest of Winona's family. When Jas Jonski, a local grocery store employee, starts courting Winona, she's cautiously charmed, but everything changes after she is raped during a trip into town. Winona can't remember who assaulted her, but she has a nagging suspicion it was Jas, who is unrelenting in his determination to marry her. After Tennyson is brutally attacked by a group of marauders, Winona decides she must take justice into her own hands and sets out to find the men who assaulted her friend. Narrated by Winona, this beautifully rendered historical bildungsroman is equal parts thrilling and meditative.

From Booklist, Copyright (c) American Library Association. Used with permission. Review by Publisher's Weekly Review

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. (Apr.)

(c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved Review by Library Journal Review

In the immediate aftermath of the Civil War, a massacre in the Wyoming territory leaves a young Lakota girl orphaned. She is rescued by two men who rename her Winona and take her with them to their hardscrabble farm in Tennessee. There she becomes a beloved member of a ragtag "family" of former soldiers who keep house and work the land alongside a couple of newly freed slaves. In spite of the warmth and loving kindness Winona receives at home and at work for the local lawyer, she is still viewed as a savage in a community of hooligans and night riders. After she suffers a beating and rape by unknown assailants, her protectors are quick to respond and seek justice on her behalf. But her own sketchy memory of the event and her lowly status in the community as a Native American do little to right these wrongs or give her peace. Verdict A poetic sensibility runs through this luminous novel of sorrow and uplift by the Booker-nominated, multi-award-winning Barry. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, 10/7/19.]--Barbara Love, formerly with Kingston Frontenac P.L., Ont.

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