The Vanishing Moon
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In The Vanishing Moon, Joseph Coulson writes with insight and beauty about the American working-class, about the strength and strain of family bonds, and about tragic incidents that haunt the human psyche over a lifetime. Set in Cleveland and Detroit, the novel chronicles two generations of the Tollman family, opening at the start of the Great Depression and moving forward through five decades to the Vietnam War. The first narrator, Stephen Tollman, looks back on his early adventures with his older brother, as both boys try to shield their siblings from the confusion and vulnerability of financial ruin. Later, as World War II approaches, Katherine Lennox, musician and political activist, offers an outsider’s view of the Tollmans, mesmerizing both Stephen and his brother with her energy and ambition. James Tollman comes of age in the 1960s, and as the youngest son in the family’s second generation, he strives to understand his father and mother amidst a summer of assassinations and civil unrest. Stephen returns to finish the story, struggling to hold his own against the currents of memory and abandoned dreams. Told with the compression and intensity of a poem, The Vanishing Moon is a novel of desire, unyielding necessity, and the people and places that inevitably disappear from our lives.