A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry (Days Without End #2)

1. First lines. 2. Published 2020 Faber & Faber; Penguin Random House 3. Jodie Herrara Looking Forward to the Future RET_5097. This is one of the murals at Heritage Hotels Nativo Lodge in Albuquerque NM where local artists are invited to paint murals on the hotel room walls. Photo by Dick Thompson [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Flickr 4. Henry County, Tennessee 1888. No known copyright restrictions. Source: My Genealogy Hound
Very moving.

In this sequel to Days Without End, Thomas McNulty and John Cole, former soldiers in the Indian and Civil Wars, move to a poor farm in Tennessee with Winona, a young Native American girl orphaned in the wars. There is much unrest in the post-Civil War era, with both Native Americans and former slaves in danger from racist violence. Winona is attacked, and with her friends, she tries to understand it, and seek justice.

“It wasn’t a crime to beat an Indian, not at all.”

“My mother, my elder sister, my cousins, my aunts, all were killed. They were souls of the Lakota that used to live on those old plains. I wasn’t too young to remember – maybe I was six or seven – but all the same I didn’t remember. I knew it happened because afterwards the soldiers brought me into the fort and I was an orphan.”

“Weeks went by and then Colonel Purton in all his military glory arrived at the farm. I could swear he had added more braid and silver to his uniform as if to suggest the grave anxiety he felt, and anxiety clearly expressed in his strange dark face.

“If you can be twenty years old and yet look deceased, Wynkle King fitted the bill.”

“The lawyer Briscoe – I never heard him referred to by any other handle – was about sixty years old at the time I got to work with him. He still had a head of wiry hair which he kept tamped down with a jar of hair-oil. That hair-oil. It stunk like a rotten cabbage.”

  • The Guardian: “This novel, like its predecessor, provides a compelling answer to those who claim that authors should stick to their own when it comes to telling stories. The idea of a middle-class white male writing in the voice of a cross-dressing teenage lesbian Native American might feel out of step with its times, but prose this good is a kind of enchantment, transcending the constructs that are supposed to define us to speak in a voice that is truly universal.”
  • The Scotsman:Days Without End and A Thousand Moons are equally marvellous; together, one of the finest achievements in contemporary fiction.”
  • Star Tribune: “An evocative novel about a Native American teen who battles post-Civil War bigotry.”
Other edition.

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