Moon Tide: A Novel
Dawn Clifton Tripp
Hardcover (304 pgs) and paperback available
Reading “Moon Tide”, complete with themes of longing, loss, class distinction, and survival, is like reading James Joyce except with better punctuation.A brooding, dark intensity seeps out of every page.
The novel’s imagery is a collision of symbolism and realism veined with fantasy. After the first forty pages I found myself adopting a reading style to accommodate the intense, fierce metaphors and descriptions of places, people, and emotional states. Once I stopped trying to grasp the book literally, I went along for a Nantucket sleigh ride over the cresting rollers of Tripp’s imagery. If your disposition harbors any shred of melancholy or lingering regret about any of your life choices, the author’s autumnal characterizations will have a tendency reignite those memories like dry tinder. A sense of crushing predestination and the influence of social and natural hierarchy is woven through the novel with a sense of relentless determinism.
Set in rural Westport, MA in the 25-year span between 1913 and the great hurricane of 1938, the book follows the lives of three women whose lives are inextricably tied together by blood and circumstance. The author researched the small town, listened to the stories of old timers, and plumbed her considerable cache of knowledge of geology, the sea, botany, and medicine to give the story its sense of place and time.
If you’re up to reading an evocative historical narrative written by an author who is deeply attuned to the natural surroundings and the characters of her adopted home town, “Moon Tide” is a good choice. Be sure to have a trashy beach novel to read as soon as you’re finished to re-establish equilibrium in your reading life.