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In Moonland - Book Review

In Moonland tells the story of three generations, ranging from 1970s Australia until the not-too-distant future. The story is told in four parts from multiple points of view and is about the current generation struggling to find connection and answers from the one that came before.

I was captivated by the meandering, lyrical prose from the opening chapters with Joe trying to make sense of the untimely death of his father, Vincent. A lost soul who doesn’t seem to have much traction in the world, Joe not so much abandons his young family, rather he seems to drift away. Joe travels to India to meet his father’s friend, Abbey, who he hopes will give him some insights into who is father really was. While Joe doesn’t seem to find many answers, he stays on to care for a dying Abbey, and never returns to his family.

The four-year-old daughter Joe left behind re-enters the story as an adult, on a quest to find connection with her own father. She takes a road trip to visit him in the remote caravan park he runs, in the hopes of gaining some fatherly insight into a difficult decision she must make. Pragmatic and self-reliant, Sylvia skates along the surface of a ruined world in futuristic Australia, not expecting much of life or the father who abandoned her when she was small. There is no mystery for her about who her father is: she sees him with sardonic clarity.

In Moonland is a thoughtful, introspective story about spiritual distress and the trauma one generation can leave on another. It is interesting that after two generations of quixotic men, the story ends with a woman who aspires to nothing more than survival. Accepting the world as it is, she learns to make it her home, in preparation for the generation that is to come.

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