The New Moon's Arms

Nalo Hopkinson
The New Moon's Arms Cover

An Emotionally Complex Character Study


I went into this book completely blind. I didn't even read the synopsis before I began which is not something I normally do. I was a little familiar with Nalo Hopkinson having previously read Brown Girl in the Ring. I knew I was going to read this one for a number of RYOC's but didn't know what to expect. I was treated to an emotionally complex character study of a prickly Carribean woman navigating several life crises at once, and none of them too well. The rocky relationships with those around her form the core of the narrative and were the most rewarding portions of the book. Calamity is often not the most likeable character. One of her more unlikeable traits is a homophobia stemming from a long-standing emotional wound. (It is obvious that Hopkinson does not hold such values since everytime Calamity's bigotry reared it's ugly head, the gay or bi-sexual characters she was attacking shut her down hard.) I ultimately found her to be a tragic but compelling character that I wanted to both give a hug to and slap silly. Some one who often made things worse for herself at every turn. A Calamity, indeed. The sea-people plot resolution, given the present-day setting, felt pretty flat but that wasn't what the book was really about. It's really a look at aging and maturing, and the fact that the two aren't necessarily the same thing.