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The New Moon’s Arms, by Nalo Hopkinson.

February 3, 2012

The New Moon’s Arms by Nalo Hopkinson. Grand Central Publishing (2007), 336 pages.

The New Moon’s Arms is a warm, enjoyable book about black Caribbean life. Hopkinson is from the Caribbean and writes sensitively about the region’s people and folklore.

Hopkinson’s characters are deftly drawn. Her narrator is Calamity, a woman in her mid-fifties, strong, feisty and appealing but not without her flaws. Her relationship with her adult daughter is rocky, with the daughter very critical of her mother. In addition, Calamity still holds grudges from her childhood and is fiercely homophobic, issues which are addressed and begin to be resolved in the course of the book. At the core of the book is the young boy that Calamity finds washed up onto her beach after a storm and seeks to keep.

This story takes place on imaginery island and is told in regional dialect. The langauge is never hard to understand, but draws in readers like me with its unfamiliarity. In the background are Caribbean issues such as environmental degradation, crony capitalism, and political deals. These are simply there as part of the scenery, never taking center stage. Magic and humor are woven through the book.

I recommend this book to any reader wanting a pleasurable experience with a touch of the Caribbean wonder.

2 Comments leave one →
  1. February 22, 2012 12:37 pm

    Nalo Hopkinson is one of my favourite writers; I’ve enjoyed every book of hers that I’ve read, and I’m really excited about the new YA book that’s coming out later this year. Lately I’ve been thinking about re-reading Midnight Robber.

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