A Thousand Moons: A Novel (Hardcover)

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From the two-time Booker Prize finalist author, a dazzling new novel about memory and identity, set in Tennessee in the aftermath of the Civil War

Winona Cole, an orphaned child of the Lakota Indians, finds herself growing up in an unconventional household on a farm in west Tennessee. Raised by her adoptive parents John Cole and Thomas McNulty, whose story Barry told in his acclaimed previous novel Days Without End, she forges a life for herself beyond the violence and dispossession of her past.

Tennessee is a state still riven by the bitter legacy of the Civil War, and the fragile harmony of her family is soon threatened by a further traumatic event, one which Winona struggles to confront, let alone understand. Exquisitely written, A Thousand Moons is a stirring, poignant story of love and redemption, of one woman's journey and her determination to write her own future.

About the Author

Sebastian Barry was born in Dublin in 1955. He is the first novelist to twice win the Costa Book of the Year award, for Days Without End and The Secret Scripture, and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. The current Laureate for Irish Fiction, he lives in County Wicklow, Ireland.

Praise For…

Praise for A Thousand Moons:

“Barry prefers moral complication to the righteous simplicities of ‘us’ and ‘them’ . . . the writing brings off Barry’s characteristic balancing act, between the lyrical telling that comes to him naturally and the grubby, tormenting world he wants to show us . . . The politics and power struggles, male brutality and race rhetoric in this novel are imagined with an intuitive, unsparing realism . . . Because of something unguarded in his writing, and his idiom borrowed from ordinary speech and proverbial wisdom, we can trust him to touch the terrible stories from our collective past without betraying them, or turning them merely into clever art. His work reminds us how much we need these rare gifts of the natural storyteller, for reckoning with our past and present.” —The Guardian
“Barry understands full well the challenges inherent in his decision to tell Winona’s story. This is a subtle, troubling novel, full of silences, full of pain . . . Barry knows that it is too much to look for redemption in a story like Winona’s, but in his telling he shows that love offers at least a spark of hope.” —Financial Times
“The reader may be grateful for . . . the endearing, confiding voice of Winona . . . It's her touchingly resilient spirit that gives the book its beating heart.” —Irish Times

“A compelling tale of identity and revenge . . . a journey that is horrifying, thrilling and enchanting in equal measure, all of it rendered in Barry’s uniquely lyrical prose, which seems at once effortless and dense with meaning . . . prose this good is a kind of enchantment, transcending the constructs that are supposed to define us to speak in a voice that is truly universal.” —Observer

“[T]his beautifully rendered historical bildungsroman is equal parts thrilling and meditative.” —Booklist

“In Winona, who sees both the beauty and the piercing loss of her world, Barry has created a vivid if didactic heroine . . . will satisfy fans of the first installment [Days Without End].” —Publishers Weekly

“A page-turner with heart and soul . . . Like all of Barry’s best fiction, it examines life from an angle that makes it look as fresh as a new moon.” —The Times (UK)
“A richly poetic read. Barry is concerned again with shifting sexual, personal and political boundaries, with the effects of tumultuous times—of rivalry, lawlessness and fissure—on individuals, families and communities, and with interactions between those on opposite sides of a political debate.” —Sunday Times (UK)

“Barry is an extraordinary descriptive writer. The prose is tightly wound and seems so persistently on the edge of violence that acts of compassion are almost as shocking as those of brutality . . . There’s a quiet glow of brightness – here are unexpected stories of love and respect. But, ultimately, theirs is a world 'so knotted with evil that good could only hope to unknot a tiny few threads of it.'” —Sunday Telegraph (UK)

Praise for Sebastian Barry’s previous novel, Days Without End, winner of the Costa Book of the Year award:

“An absorbing story that sets the horrors of history against the consolations of hearth and home . . . Barry’s frontier saga is a vertiginous pileup of inhumanity and stolen love: gore-soaked and romantic, murderous and musical.” —The Wall Street Journal

“A true leftfield wonder: Days Without End is a violent, superbly lyrical western offering a sweeping vision of America in the making, the most fascinating line-by-line first person narration I've come across in years.” —Kazuo Ishiguro, Booker Prize winning author of The Remains of the Day and The Buried Giant

“A haunting archeology of youth . . . Barry introduces a narrator who speaks with an intoxicating blend of wit and wide-eyed awe, his unsettlingly lovely prose unspooling with an immigrant’s peculiar lilt and a proud boy’s humor. But in this country’s adolescence he also finds our essential human paradox, our heartbreak: that love and fear are equally ineradicable.” —Katy Simpson Smith, The New York Times Book Review
Days Without End is suffused with joy and good spirit . . . Through Barry, the frontiersman has a poet’s sense of language . . . If you underlined every sentence in Days Without End that has a rustic beauty to it, you’d end up with a mighty stripy book.” —Sarah Begley, Time

“Alternately brutal and folksy . . . Barry’s prose can take brilliant turns without sounding implausible coming out of Thomas’s mouth. A mordant vein of comedy runs through the book . . . the 'wilderness of furious death' his characters inhabit has a gut-punching credibility.” —Michael Upchurch, The Washington Post

“Barry’s magisterial tale of love, war and redemption is one of the year’s great novels . . . Visceral violence, wrenching emotion, astutely drawn characters and a compelling narrative voice make for memorable reading.” —Minneapolis Star Tribune

“McNulty is a lyrical and companionable narrator for this bloody part of America's history.” —NPR 

“Sebastian Barry had me in no uncertain terms from the first sentence and never let up. And he writes like there’s no tomorrow—like there are days without end. He navigates the terrain as a master of fictional conventions and sweeps us along in a big picaresque arc that is just the right vessel for his thematic necessities.” —David Guterson, author of Snow Falling on Cedars

“A tour de force of style and atmosphere . . . Evocative of Cormac McCarthy and Charles Portis, Days Without End is a timeless work of historical fiction.” —Booklist (Starred Review)
Product Details
ISBN: 9780735223103
ISBN-10: 0735223106
Publisher: Viking
Publication Date: April 21st, 2020
Pages: 256