Sunday, March 20, 2011

One-Minute Book Review: The Moon of Letting Go

The Moon of Letting Go and other stories (Richard Van Camp)

This book was given to me as a gift by a professor who requested that I speak to her Native Lit class about my master's research. A pretty awesome gift, especially considering that I read and loved Van Camp's coming-of-age novel, The Lesser Blessed.

These short stories are divided into four sections: Healing, Medicine, Teachings and Love. While the stories don't shy away from the grit and grind of rez and urban Indian life, many of the stories have happy endings (or maybe just endings I've interpreted as happy) and show that there can be a good outcome for someone who might typically be called "the bad guy."

Being the hopeless romantic that I am, I loved the three stories in the last section, 'Love.' But, I was particularly struck by the title story, "The Moon of Letting Go" (from 'Medicine'). It's the story of a mother and son, estranged from the other members of their family--an ex-husband and two sons--who get "accosted" by the last medicine man in their community, known and feared for practicing black magic. The line between black and white, good and evil is blurred as the mother and son spend time with the mysterious medicine man, moving forward with a weary trust and belief.

It reminded me of this one time I personally came into contact with some black magic, but I'll save that story for another time.... (Ellipses are so Van Camp.)


  1. I met Richard and his stories live are amazing... they are based on true facts!

  2. Hi Nina! Wow, you are so lucky! I'd love to hear him speak/read someday. His voice conveys that some of the themes are very close to him, but I'd be astounded to learn that some facts are true. :)