The New Moon's Arms

Nalo Hopkinson
The New Moon's Arms Cover

The New Moon's Arms


I've wanted to read Hopkinson since she burst upon the scene and won the Locus Award for the best new writer in 1998 with Brown Girl in the Ring. As a woman of color, born and raised in the Caribbean, she was reported to have a unique voice on the speculative fiction scene. Sometimes I'm a little slow. But finally, I picked up The New Moon's Arms last November.

Calamity Lambkin is burying her father when we first meet her. Her adjustment to this, her relationship with her daughter and grandson, her daughter's father and his partner, an old enemy/friend, and two new men in her life are worthy of a book in itself. But we also have a strange boy found on the beach near her house who may or may not be a creature of legend, and the return of Calamity's "finding" ability which is returning objects from her childhood home on a neighboring island which was completely destroyed by a hurricane many years ago. And there are the multinational corporations that are taking advantage of the island nation's debt to move in and possibly destroy its fishing ecology. Plus interspersals of local legend and quotes from "Uncle Time" by Dennis Scott. (Scott was one of the most significant poets writing in the early post-independence period in Jamaica, and his first published collection, Uncle Time (1973), for which he won the Commonwealth Poetry Prize, is marked by an effective literary use of the vernacular, or "nation language". He has been regarded as one of the main influences for modern Jamaican poetry. --wikipedia)

This is a rich and earthy story. Calamity is not a particularly likable character, but she is a very interesting one and her story read quickly and fluently. I like Hopkinson's use of language and imagery a lot. She definitely has a unique voice.