Influence of the MoonBook - 1995
In Ice, ' Irene unwittingly betrays her illegally-fishing father, whose enthusiasm for the Soviet space programme already sets him apart from the other men in the town. In The Bible Seller, ' the confluence of a lightning strike, her mother's departure for a puzzling hospital stay, and the visit of an itinerant bible salesman gives Irene a foreboding of life's mysteries.
In The Blue Dress, ' a gift from her Aunt Rose awakens old resentments in Irene's parents and arouses the stifled rage the young girl feels within the constricting net of her family's simmering tensions. The Queen of the Land' is Irene's sickly baby sister, Baby, whose fragility summons the girl's most intense feelings of love. Eclipse' shows how Irene and her mother and father become isolated by their private griefs over Baby's death.
In World Fair, ' Irene, her father and her brother, Amel, make a spontaneous trip to the Seattle World Fair, leaving behind Irene's mother, who has fallen prey to recurrent nervous breakdowns. In City Slickers, ' the city versus country rivalry that comes to the fore when Aunt Rose brings home her new husband Dez crystallizes the many other divisions within the family.
Irene's resentment at playing second fiddle to her brother Amel makes her vulnerable to the spiritual seduction of a Pentecostal minister in The Short-Wave Radio.' In Map of the Known World, ' 16-year-old Irene's growing independence asserts itself most forcefully when she refuses to agree to an arranged marriage with an older Ukrainian man, jumping off the school roof to make her point.
In the title story, Influence of the Moon, ' Irene's assertion that she hears the singing of angels gratifies her mother's prayer meeting group, but how different is it from the other illusions shared by her family? In Paper House, ' Irene senses that the suburban contentment espoused by her fianc? and his friends might be just as confining as the world she has struggled so hard to leave behind. Blessing' shows how Irene's understanding of her mother's relationship with Irene's grandmother helps her reach a tentative reconciliation with her past.
"Influence of the Moon" marks the debut of a writer whose deceptively simple prose and masterful modulation of scene and emotion leave the reader in no doubt that one is in the presence of a fully matured and distinctive talent.