Throwback Thursday: The Moon and the Other by John Kessel

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Rating:  ★★★★★

Following my Top Ten Tuesday I was reminded of Mira & Carey from The Moon and the Other.  This was up there as one of my favorite reads last year.  It reminds me a lot of Too Like the Lightning.  It asks a lot of philosophical questions, which makes it a great book for discussion.  I hope you’ll check it out!

4.5 stars rounded up to 5. I’ve been dying to get my hands on this since I first heard about it. The size of it kept putting me off because I already felt so far behind on my reading. Though the chapters were long they were broken up by interesting little tidbits- media clips, news reports, interviews, poems, etc. So it’s six hundred pages, but they go by quick.

This is a political science fiction novel set on the moon.  It took until about chapter 5 for me to really become invested in the novel. I was enjoying one story line more than the other but after they fused together I found myself enjoying both equally.

This is ultimately about a single matriarchal colony in a sea of many patriarchal colonies struggling to persist. The patriarchies are calling for reform. Their own citizens are calling for reform. The Board of Matrons fear the reform will bring a return to the violence they once suffered on Earth as a result of male dominance (the book’s justifications- not mine).

There is an ongoing exploration of the differences between men and women, how they lead, how they feel, how they perceive, how they react to others, but also a recognition of differences between individuals regardless of sex. There is an examination of masculinity, what it means, how to define it, it’s effects on men, etc.. Kessel also explores oppression within society and it’s many different forms (and proposes some forms that perhaps you’ve not even thought of). I’m sure there are other themes that I’m missing entirely (some of the other reviews I saw definitely pulled more from it than I did) but these were the ones that struck a chord with me.

Beyond that, we also have a really beautiful and tragic story, perhaps almost Shakespearean or operatic in nature. The characters were flawed and very human feeling. None of them are really heroes and none of them are really villains- they’re just people. The relationships between them were full of ups and downs and highs and lows.

So even if you aren’t interested in the more philosophical questions posed by the book- it’s definitely worth reading for the story alone.

 

3 thoughts on “Throwback Thursday: The Moon and the Other by John Kessel

  1. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Hidden Gems | Hamlets & Hyperspace

  2. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Favorite books of the past decade | Hamlets & Hyperspace

  3. Pingback: Top Ten Tuesday: Science Fiction Reads | Hamlets & Hyperspace

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