STARRED REVIEW
September 20, 2017

Tracing a library book through many lives

By Brian Rogers

At a glance, the characters in The Whole of the Moon are related predominately by geography, if anything. The novel’s six narratives span 50-some years, and they’re all set along Route 66 in Southern California. They don’t interlock, exactly, but the stories seem to dance around one another.

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At a glance, the characters in The Whole of the Moon are related predominately by geography, if anything. The novel’s six narratives span 50-some years, and they’re all set along Route 66 in Southern California. They don’t interlock, exactly, but the stories seem to dance around one another.

There’s the Actor, a modern-day man aiming to make it big in Hollywood. His days are consumed by maintaining his appearance and being ready to jump when his big break calls. In the 1960s, Bobby and Stacy ditch school for a hike in the woods. Bobby is excited by the prospect of time with his crush, but they underestimate the wilderness. In the same era, Dot and George fall in love over their shared love of musicals. George’s life’s work is writing and scoring a theatrical version of The Great Gatsby. Although he has a satisfying career as a professor and a healthy family, this effort is his obsession.

Mike’s obsession is baseball; he wants to take one more shot at the career that has eluded him. Felicity is trying to make the most of life after an unexpected pregnancy in her early 20s. And an unnamed man compares himself to his cousin, the star of his family, who has been missing for years.

Throughout the novel, another connection becomes clear in these seemingly disparate tales: Each of the main characters has checked out the same library copy of The Great Gatsby. Arguably a—if not the—Great American Novel, The Great Gatsby’s universal themes appear in each of these character’s lives. Debut author Brian Rogers splinters and weaves together the book’s themes of vanity and self-delusion in these captivating tales.

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The Whole of the Moon

The Whole of the Moon

By Brian Rogers
University of Nevada
ISBN 9781943859405

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