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At the Full and Change of the Moon: A Novel Hardcover – October 1, 1999

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Grove Pr; 1st American ed edition (October 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0802116493
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802116499
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,629,305 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Close on the heels of her well-received first novel (In Another Place, Not Here), Brand delivers a distinguished, visionary work, grounded in the language and legacy of her native Trinidad. Intricately structured and lyrically narrated, the novel invokes the powerful influence of hereditary forces on the far-flung descendants of Marie-Ursule, Trinidadian queen of a secret society of militant slaves. In 1823, in a supreme gesture of rebellion, Marie-Ursule orchestrates a mass slave suicide, from which only her young daughter Bola is spared. In her hideaway at an abandoned monastery on the tip of the island, Bola sinks deep into the spirit of the land and the sea. Roused from her reveries when other islanders move nearby, she has nine children with nine different men, none of whom can tame her. She shuttles her children off into the world, and it is their stories and their children's stories that make up the balance of the novel. While some voices are more memorable than others, snippets of memory tie each back to Marie-Ursule or Bola. Private Sones fights in WWI, falling into madness upon his return to the island. Cordelia, a model of maternal decorum until she turns 50, has simultaneous affairs with an "ice-cream-freezer man" and her seamstress. A haunting portrait of a cold, heartless hustler emerges in Priest, who roams from Florida to New York. "He didn't feel any love for anybody.... He watched them to see if they loved him and what they would do for him if they did." The novel ends in the present day and on a poignant note with a schoolgirl named after her great-grandmother Bola mourning her mother's death. Compressing her far-reaching tale in a tight 300 pages, Brand seamlessly fuses individual and collective identities in a work of poetic achievement. (Oct.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Brand, an award-winning African Canadian poet, novelist, and short story writer, has written a powerful family saga, filled with passion and anguish. It begins in early-19th-century Trinidad with Marie-Ursule, a rebellious slave leader who plots a mass suicide. She cannot kill her daughter Bola, however, and quietly arranges for her escape. It is through Bola and her children, scattered to the four corners of the world, that the real story unfolds. Brand renders their lives in rich, almost lyrical language, offering up a world filled with unique characters: Cordelia, a woman with insatiable desires; Priest, a would-be evangelist turned gangster; Adrian, his younger brother, a hopeless addict; and a second Bola, living alone in the ruins of the family home, talking to the dead. A provocative book; essential for larger public libraries and all black studies collections.AJanis Williams, Shaker Heights P.L., OH
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Debbie Lee Wesselmann TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 26, 2000
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
A poetic account of six generations born from an act of rebellion and set free into the world, this novel begins on Trinidad as Marie Ursule plots a mass suicide of fellow slaves and ensures the escape of her "vanity and joy," little Bola. Marie Ursule's descendants, born of Bola and her lust for different men, dash off to disparate lives, which Brand describes in separate, always lyrical, chapters. Although Brand's repetitive use of certain phrases can wear thin, she shows a brilliant command of the emotional side of language. I would not recommend this book to casual readers because its emphasis on language and theme, and not plot, might disappoint them; however, this novel has much to offer serious and attentive readers.
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1 of 4 people found the following review helpful By steve on December 6, 1999
Format: Hardcover
I thought it was an amazing novel, very deep. I think Dionne Brand dwelled to much on simple situations in the plot, which at times made it boring, but overall extremely well written
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