Melinda Soto, aged sixty-four, vacationing in Mexico, is murdered by a fellow American tourist.
Back in her hometown of Reno, Nevada, she leaves behind her adopted son, Jeremy, whom she rescued from war-torn Guatamala when he was a toddler—just one of her many causes over the years. And she leaves behind a circle of friends: Veronique, the academic stuck in a teaching job from which she can't retire; Rosemary, who's losing her husband to Alzheimer's and who's trying to lose herself in volunteer work; Henrietta, the priest at Rosemary's and Melinda's church.
Jeremy already had a fraught relationship with his charismatic mother and the people in her orbit. Now her death is tearing him apart, and he can barely stand the rituals of remembrance that ensue among his mother’s friends. Then the police reveal who killed Melinda: a Seattle teenager who flew home to his parents and drowned himself just days later.
It's too much. Jeremy's not the only one who can't deal. Friendships fray. But the unexpected happens: an invitation to them all, from the murderer's mother, to come to Seattle for his memorial. It's ridiculous. And yet, somehow, each of them begins to see in it a chance to heal. Aided, in peculiar ways, by Jeremy's years-long obsession with the comic-book hero Comrade Cosmos, and the immense cult of online commentary it's spawned.
Shot through with feeling and inventiveness, Susan Palwick's Mending the Moon is a novel of the odd paths that lead to home.
Melinda Soto, four years old, looks out her bedroom window and sees the full moon, orange and bulbous, rising over the Washoe Valley. Melinda has seen the moon before, has listened to her parents explaining why it waxes and wanes, but she has never noticed the pits and shadows on its surface. In her picture books, as in the pictures she draws herself—at school and at home, in bold marker or wavering pencil or the waxy smudge of crayon—the moon is always purely white, as spotless and serene as a newly peeled egg.
Now she rests her arms on the windowsill, breathing the
“Reminiscent of Gail Godwin and Madeleine L'Engle, this is a brave and brilliant book.”
—Jo Walton, author of Among Others
“A story of profound loss, grief, and guilt is leavened and enlightened by the parallel narrative about a cult comic book…Despite its backdrop of pain, this is a compulsively readable and thought-provoking celebration of friendship and humanity.”—Booklist
“Originality and poignancy abound in Palwick’s well-written story.”—RT Book Reviews
“Triumphant… Succeeds as a heart-wrenching romance, a sharp meditation on refugees and displaced persons, and a tragicomedy of cultural differences. Outstanding.”
—Publishers Weekly, starred review on The Necessary Beggar
“Palwick’s beautifully crafted tale of exiles struggling to come to terms with a deeply troubled Earth is exquisite.”
—Booklist, starred review on The Necessary Beggar
“One of the best and most moving novels by a new author I have read in years.”
—Alison Lurie on Flying in Place