The New Moon's Arms
by Nalo Hopkinson
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
At the beginning of this novel we meet Calamity at her father's funeral. She is a woman of middle-age who is dealing with the changes happening in her body and in how the world sees her. She is also still working on the stuff we come to understand she has always been working on about herself. I really enjoyed Calamity's story and liked her as a character (prickly, stubborn, foolish and all). There was also a magical-realism aspect of the book--sections mixed into the story--about how a group of beings came to where they are (I'm being vague so as not to spoil anything). I didn't find that part of the book nearly as successful. It wasn't clear how it related to Calamity's story for quite a while, and it was too vague to stand alone as a storyline. There was a third strand about a zoo that started off well, with an intriguing character I would have liked to learn more about, but never came to much and didn't connect clearly to the rest of the book. There was a magical-realism aspect to Calamity's story as well. The hot-flashes that are tormenting her as she enters menopause bring unexpected objects back into her world. I thought this element of the novel worked well as it not only gave us peek into Calamity's past, it was also a twist on the idea of the magic of women.
Nalo Hopkinson was born in Jamaica and lived, among other places, in Toronto. I am counting this book toward the 12th Canadian Book Challenge. This is the book for the Summer Edition of the Literary Sewing Circle at Following the Thread. I have an idea for the sewing project to go with this book which, if it comes together, I will be posting about at Urban Quilter.