But I did feel privileged to have been asked to review Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein, author of the NY Times bestseller, The Art of Racing in the Rain, so I opened my mind--and the book. Raven Stole the Moon was the author’s debut novel, published in 1998, which is now being re-released by HarperCollins.
Even the best of marriages would suffer tremendously from the death of a young child. Raven Stole the Moon is the story of a married couple, Jenna and Robert, bereaved parents who lost their young son, Bobby, in a drowning accident at Thunder Bay in Alaska.
"She had sworn never to set foot in the state of Alaska again. Two years ago, as she flew away from the place where her heart had been ripped from her body. Where her very soul had been crushed. Where her spirit had drowned with her baby. She swore she would never go again."
~Raven Stole the Moon, Garth Stein
Although Jenna had resolved to never return to Alaska, she finds herself leaving her husband and home in Seattle and boarding the ferry, which takes her from Bellingham, Washington to the town of Wrangell, Alaska, home of her long deceased grandmother. (A ferry to Alaska! I was ready to board the Columbia--what an exciting trip that would be! Everyone camps out for a few days on the ship, tries to stay warm, and attempts to sleep comfortably. It would surely be an adventure.) Still grieving and feeling unsettled about her marriage, Jenna is mysteriously drawn back to Alaska, and her trip becomes a quest for answers which surround the mystery and horror of her son's death. Jenna befriends a dog, Oscar, and rents a room from a local fisherman, Eddie, and soon enters into a world which features the supernatural, menacing shape-shifting spirits, the kushtaka, of Tlingit myth and legend.
Garth Stein's first book brought to mind the work of Stephen King, mainly because of the magical realism. Along with Jenna and other characters, I gradually suspended my disbelief and doubts, and considered the possibility that reality may be more supernatural, strange, and unknowable than previously thought. The author's great-grandmother was a full-blooded Tlingit, and he learned about the Indian legends by reading and listening to the stories his uncles and aunts told around campfires. Garth Stein adeptly weaves these magical elements into a refreshingly original, gripping, and moving story. Raven Stole the Moon is also about relationships, about the bonds between husbands and wives, mothers and sons, and grandmothers and granddaughters, which may last beyond physical death. The best stories touch me, and I wept near the end of this one.Exciting news! The publisher is generously offering a copy of this book as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).
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Special thanks to Sarah from Terra Communications for sending me this book.