Thirty-one-year-old Catherine Hope has a great memory. But she can’t remember everything. She can’t remember her ninth year. She can’t remember when her insomnia started. And she can’t remember why everyone stopped calling her Catherine-Maria. With a promiscuous past, and licking her wounds after a painful breakup, Catherine wonders why she resists anything approaching real love. But when she loses her home to the deluge of 2007 and volunteers at Flood Crisis, a devastating memory emerges … and changes everything. Dark, poignant and deeply moving, Maria in the Moon is an examination of the nature of memory and truth, and the defences we build to protect ourselves, when we can no longer hide…
Louise Beech could write about any topic and I’d still read her books. As my friend Steph would say: “I would read everything she publishes, even if she wrote the phone book”. Because Louise has a way with words. She makes ordinary stories feel extraordinary. I admit I wasn’t sure of Maria In The Moon at first, as I didn’t really understand what the book was about when I checked out the blurb or even when I started reading. But the more I read, the more I liked it. There was just something about it, and I ended up falling in love with it.
I admire Louise’s ability to write such unique stories every time. Her three books are completely different in terms of genre and the stories feel special and magic in their own way. Although my favorite is still How To Be Brave, this is a close second. Maria In The Moon tells the story of a fascinating but very damaged woman named Catherine Maria, a woman who doesn’t remember a year in her life. What happened during her childhood? Why doesn’t she remember her ninth year?
After losing her house, Catherine starts volunteering at Flood Crisis and, to be honest, those were my favorite scenes to read about. Her conversations with the callers were incredible and I love the way you get to care about characters that you know nothing about. If that isn’t a sign of a great writer, I don’t know what is. So yes, all the characters were multi-layered and interesting, and despite her difficult personality, I really loved Catherine Maria and her relationships, especially the ones with her roommate, Christopher, and her parents. The dialogues in Maria in the Moon were witty and honest, deep and thought-provoking. In addition, the “love story” was well-crafted and I rooted for them to be together.
I’d recommend this beautiful book to all those who are partial to brilliant writing and favour character developing over plot. It’s heart-breaking but ultimately optimistic. Congrats on yet another success, Louise.
ARC, Orenda Books, 2017