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Raven Stole the Moon: A Novel Paperback – March 9, 2010

3.9 out of 5 stars 188 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

On impulse, Jenna Rosen leaves the party she and her real estate developer husband, Robert, are attending in Seattle, takes his BMW and drives north to Bellingham. Again on impulse, she hops on the ferry to the Alaskan town where her Tlingit Indian grandmother lived and died. But there's more than impulse at work here: Jenna and Robert's 5-year-old son, Bobby, drowned in Alaska just two years ago, and something is drawing Jenna back to the scene. On the ferry, she's given a carved silver charm of a Tlingit spirit called a kushtaka, a stealer of souls. "Tlingits don't have good and evil," a local shaman explains, telling the story of how the spirit known as Raven gave the world the sun, moon, and stars by stealing them from someone else. As Jenna learns more about the kushtakas, helped by this very sophisticated shaman and an understanding fisherman, she begins to believe that her son's soul is being held captive by these spirits, as revenge for her husband's greed. Garth Stein's persuasive prose draws us into a book that mixes fantasy with tragedy and the natural human desire for closure. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

Her upscale Seattle lifestyle lost meaning for Jenna Rosen when her young son drowned in Alaska. On the second anniversary of his death, she impulsively takes a ferry to Wrangell, where she grew up and which is not far from the drowning site. Once there, Jenna often feels menaced; even as a dog appears to protect her, shape-changing kushtaka (Indian spirits) repeatedly threaten her life?corporal and eternal. Her husband, Robert, arrives in Wrangell after he learns from a private investigator that she is living with a young fisherman. Only when a shaman risks his life to save Jenna and to help put their son's soul to rest are the Rosens able to resolve their grief. Stein's richly textured first novel, drawing on his Tlingit heritage and award-winning filmmaking experience, is layered with vivid descriptions and characters. Recommended for all fiction collections.?V. Louise Saylor, Eastern Washington Univ. Libs., Cheney
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 464 pages
  • Publisher: Harper Paperbacks; Reprint edition (March 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0061806382
  • ISBN-13: 978-0061806384
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 0.7 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (188 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,347 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By A Customer on February 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Garth Stein has captured the culture, mystique and emotional beauty of Alaska in his novel, HOW RAVEN STOLE THE MOON. It is the story of a woman, a mom, a lover, a wife and what she must go through to aid her son's soul in passing over to the Land of the Dead Souls. Does the story contain cliches? Yes, but the theme goes beyond the everyday writing. Characters are well-developed and their stories are rich. Jenna is a woman not afraid to show her vulnerability in situations, she remains strong by doing so. She is right to take the time to analyze her current relationship with her husband, my only disappointment is that Alaska remains in the past by the time the final page is turned.The beauty of Tlingit legends comes alive. Some of these legends are well explained through various characters in the story. The reader is given the opportunity to explore, appreciate and value the spiritual world that is presented. The author does a wonderful job in explaining the idea that kushtakas, like people, contain within their spirits both good and evil.My only disappointment is that Mr. Stein lives in New York and not Alaska. Maybe someday he will return to this setting, both phsyically and as an author. Should Mr. Stein and his family return to this great state, I'm sure they would be welcomed with open arms and eager readers. Just the random thoughts of a fellow Alaskan.
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Format: Paperback
Story Overview

On the surface, Jenna Rosen has it all: a husband who loves her, a comfortable life in Seattle, and good looks. But Jenna is troubled; it shows in her excessive drinking, Valium addiction, depression and the increasing discord in her marriage. But her problems can all be traced back to the loss of her son Bobby, who drowned during a family vacation in Alaska two years ago. Jenna blames herself for Bobby's death and cannot get past it. Yet her husband Robert seems to have been able to put the past to rest. One night at a party, Jenna gets in Robert's car and keeps on driving. Her trip leads her to Bellingham, WA, where she impulsively boards the ferry that will take her to Wrangell, Alaska--a small town where her Native American grandmother lived and close to the Thunder Bay Resort where Bobby died.

Once in Wrangell, things happen that lead her to believe that something is calling her to discover the truth about Bobby's death. Her grandmother's Tlingit ancestry begins to manifest itself in strange and frightening ways. As Jenna begins to explore the Tlingit legends of the kushtaka, she begins to believe that Bobby's death was no accident. Determined to find the truth, Jenna embarks on a quest to discover what really happened at Thunder Bay. The result is a terrifying but liberating journey into the heart of the Alaska wilderness and the ancient legends of the Tlingits.

My Thoughts

Contrary to what you might think, this isn't a new book by Garth Stein, author of the best-selling Art of Racing in the Rain (which is on my TBR list for later this year). Rather, this is a rerelease of his first novel, which was published in 1998. (Note to authors: If your first book is not very successful, keep on trying.
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Format: Paperback
Like most folks, I came to this book after searching out more Garth Stein after Racing in the Rain. That book was an unequivocal 5 star rating from me. I am glad I read this book, but I want to be very clear for fans of Racing: this is a VERY different book. It is closer akin to Stephen King than to racing. The first time the supernatural element shows up - I will not spoil it by providing any details - it is jarring in effect. Its like, "OK, so it is going to be THAT kind of book." As one who (embarrassing admission coming here)DOES enjoy at least many of Stephen King's books, I was OK with that. If you cannot suspend disbelief long enough to deal w a book heavy on supernatural elements, I would suggest you let this one pass.
Stein does create a very richly-detailed heroine in Jenna Rosen. She is a fully formed and vividly painted character, with whom you come to empathize greatly. Stein could have turned her husband into a complete charicature, but portrays him fairly, too, as a flawed but real human being also dealing with a tragedy. Most other characters are just there to fill their predestined, precast, role. It is a shame that a book so imaginative & w a lead character so well painted actually becomes somewhat predictable, with other players wearing clear white or black hats, & the action somewhat predictable.
Still, on balance, I am glad I read it. Not all will be: I fully understand the 1 star reviews. I initially bought this for my wife, as she read & loved Racing before I did, but she didn't get to it, so I read it before her. She doesn't care for supernatural fiction, so I now think she'd hate it. it is a matter of taste: if this sort of thing is your cup of tea, come along for the ride & you won't be disappointed. If it is not, wait for Stein's upcoming novel, which looks like Racing II.
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Format: Hardcover
A woman of Native Alaskan blood is drawn back to the place of her only son's murder, where her marriage, as well as her belief system are challenged. Garth Stein weaves Tlingit legend with mystery thriller to create a story that is gripping and, at times disturbing. He is not afraid to make his characters unsympathetic, which adds to the realism of his story. Being one half Tlingit drew my interest to this mystery, but Garth Stein's ability as a novelist kept it until it's climactic finish.
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