“Good and Funny. I enjoyed it more than I expected. I may look into other books by this author.”see full review » see other reviews »
“This is a politically incorrect comic novel masquerading as fantasy. Calamity really lives up to her name!”Norman H wrote this review Wednesday, August 14, 2013. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Good and Funny. I enjoyed it more than I expected. I may look into other books by this author.”bluestocking7 wrote this review Wednesday, September 1, 2010. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“This book had an intersting storyline. I'm surprised that we didn't find out what happened to the mother in the end. I think I liked it overall, however, the lingo and the writing style was different than what I was used to. I was completely enthralled towards the end of the story when Agway was returned back to the sea. Not bad overall. Memorable in its uniqueness, but potentially forgetable. I'd give this book 3.5 stars.”Brianne wrote this review Sunday, July 6, 2008. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The New Moon's Arms is exciting, different [unique], native Carribean, imaginative, stimulating, intriguing...highly recommended! ”Marilyn W wrote this review Saturday, December 22, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“nalo is the greatest writer around. i can't wait to get into this.”jillana e wrote this review Monday, November 12, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“Offbeat and fun, yet serious. Couldn't wait to see what would fall out of the sky next.”Allikat wrote this review Saturday, October 27, 2007. ( reply | permalink ) Was this review helpful? Yes | No
“The New Moon's Arms by Nalo Hopkinson is a wonderfully imagined, page-turning offering that combines a bit of fantasy, mystery, and romance. Amid a Caribbean backdrop, the author delivers a story centered on a 53-year-old pistol, Chastity Lambkin, who is grieving the recent loss of her estranged father to lung cancer. She is a sprightly, independent library research assistant who is determined to avoid the matronly image and cling to her youth at all costs. She demands that everyone including her daughter, Ife, and grandson, Stanley, call her Calamity. She holds nothing back (including her tongue) which has caused a long-standing strained relationship with Ife. It is revealed fairly early in the novel that a portion of Calamity's angst resides in unresolved childhood issues and events including an untimely departure of her mother resulting in her father being arrested as a murder suspect in her disappearance when she was ten. Lost love and an unplanned pregnancy at fifteen resulted in her father's emotional, financial, and physical withdrawal from her at sixteen.
It is never a dull moment with Calamity. Try as she might, she is losing the battle with Mother Nature and with the encroaching onset of menopause, she reawakens a unique, repressed childhood gift to find lost things. This gift, which hilariously coincides with tingling fingers and hot flashes at the most inopportune moments, results in remnants from the past literally falling from the sky triggering a reemergence of forgotten and sometimes painful memories. Following her father's funeral, Calamity partakes in a drinking binge to wallow in self-pity on the nearby beach. She awakens to discover a "lost" child has washed ashore covered in seaweed. Careful medical examination by her childhood friend-turned- tormentor, Dr. Chow, confirms that the child is a bit "different;'" and deliberately suppresses her suspicions that he is one of the mythical Sea People. When two similar adult bodies are discovered the next day, Calamity identifies with the orphan's apparent parental loss. She names him Agway; embraces and welcomes him into her home worsening her frail relationship with Ife even more.
To complicate matters further, she is suddenly overwhelmed by life: Her new love suggests opening the unsolved cold case surrounding her mother's disappearance; Ife's marriage is in shambles spawned by arguments with her husband surrounding the upcoming election and the heated political factions facing the island's tourist trade; Ife's father, her first love, comes to visit and brings his new lover; Stanley needs her assistance to complete his school project; endangered, indigenous seals are missing from the local zoo; and last, caring for a rambunctious three-year-old "merboy" who loves to eat raw shrimp is putting her close to the edge!
It may sound a bit convoluted but it is not; the author does an excellent job of lacing the plot threads together and it all comes together beautifully. It is a delightful, endearing story about family, loss, and reclamation. I absolutely loved the infusion of humor, African Diasporatic themes, West Indian culture, language, history, and folklore into the story. This is one of my favorite reads so far this year.
Reviewed by Phyllis
Nubian Circle Book Club ”