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A Blessing on the Moon
by Joseph Skibbell

To:                ALL                   Date:    12/30
From:   KDEX08B    RUTH BAVETTA          Time:     0:11 AM

After a period of periodicals, I've galloped into an        
end-of-the-year frenzy of reading.  In the past week, 4     
novels.  First IF YOU KNEW ME, by Anne Roiphe.  An          
interesting study of a woman reassessing her life, a        
small-town schoolteacher and his retarded sister.   Then    
DROWN, a collection of short stories by Juno Diaz, many of  
which I had already read in the New Yorker.                 
Of course, I took a book with me on the flight to Arizona.  
When we had to arrive early for our flight home in order to 
avoid paying another day's rental charges on the car, I was 
unflustered.  I had a good book to pass the time.  I        
thought.  Until I remembered that the book was still sitting
on the coffee table at my stepson's house.  I approached the
airport "bookstore" with expectations, which were borne out,
of the usual mass of dreck.  BUT, there they were, down in  
one inconspicuous corner corner of the rack, not one, but   
two, books by Kay Gibbon.  I bought A VIRTUOUS WOMAN, which 
saw me through the airport wait, the airplane wait, and the 
evening once I got home.                                    
And today, there in the mail, was the book I'd left at my   
stepson's-A BLESSING ON THE MOON by Joseph Skibell.  I      
finished it this evening.    Vicki Karno's  post about this 
book piqued my interest.  Didn't she say a nephew had       
written it?                                                 
Vicki, if you're reading this, please give him my           
congratulations.  This is a stunner of a book.              
I'm normally not much for magic realism, and I was one of   
the few here that didn't care much for THE WHITE HOTEL, and 
this book has been compared to both.  It would be an        
understatement to say I was completely enthralled.  My      
disbelief was suspended willingly by the end of page 1 and I
was sucked into a literary Marc Chagall as filtered through 
the holocaust.                                              
Funny, sad, miraculous, thought-provoking.  Please, someone 
else read this book so I'm not left alone trying to figure  
out its never-ending series of puzzles.  A first book by an 
author unafraid to tackle the big questions in a small book.

===============   Reply    1 of Note   44 =================

To: KDEX08B RUTH BAVETTA Date: 12/30 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 10:35 AM Dear Ruth, I was at a reading by Skibell and planned on reading it soon, but was distracted. He read the (rather long) part of the wandering soul carrying the German head. I thought that was wonderful. With my kids here, I don't do as much reading as I'd like, and I was going to start the Carver next, but I'll see. Sherry +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ =============== Reply 2 of Note 44 ================= To: ALL Date: 02/24 From: UHUB31A D RANDALL Time: 3:27 AM A BLESSING ON THE MOON - Skibbell. I did finally read this one and found it very powerful and compelling. I had picked up a copy and asked Dale to copy the reader's guide for me but by the time his note appeared to say the guide was in the mail -- I had given the book to my friend for Christmas and/or Hannakuh. Then I found it at Bookman for about half price which surprised me. Now comes the best part -- slipped into the back of the library cover I discovered the actual reader's guide and several photocopied reviews and the four page Algonquin release with the sheduled stops beginning with one BEFORE it was actually released. AND a 5X7 glossy of the author -- and all because I gave the first copy I bought to someone as a gift! I just thought this was all TOO much! I am still thinking about this book -- my main reaction is to note that THIS Holocaust story grabs my personal attention -- INVOLVES me -- because of this real character. Dottie PS -- I am now reading The Gospel According To The Son -- Norman Mailer. I have not come to grips yet with my thoughts on A Blessing On The Moon but will post here again in a couple days (or less). =============== Reply 1 of Note 27 =================  
To: UHUB31A D RANDALL Date: 02/24 From: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Time: 8:46 AM Dottie, Isn't it interesting that the "real" character is dead? I guess reality is relative . It's neat you found all that extra material in the book. What a find! This was an original book, all right. Sherry =============== Reply 2 of Note 27 =================  
To: WSRF10B SHERRY KELLER Date: 02/24 From: UHUB31A D RANDALL Time: 1:33 PM Sherry -- It certainly is interesting! At first it was disconcerting but then it became interesting and then it was nescessary because the experiences were so bad that it would have been terrible for anyone alive to experience them. Which was the point perhaps? The experiences of those who were consumed in the Holocaust were beyond the pale in terms of comprehension on a "live" human level and yet they happened. Maybe that's why the connection to these events seems to be more complete here? Hmmmm? A book that requires thought. Dottie, who still hasn't read all the lovely 'extras' discovered in the book jacket. ALSO, the moon because it is so remote symbolizes our difficulty in comprhension -- might as well be made of green chees or ice or whatever -- just beyond understanding. =============== Reply 3 of Note 27 =================  
To: UHUB31A D RANDALL Date: 02/24 From: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Time: 9:52 PM Dottie, it's been several weeks since I finished this book, and it still haunts me. I have not yet figured it all out--or even a tiny portion of it. I think it deserves a re-read, but there's precious little time for that right now. I like the idea about the moon being unattainable, out of our grasp of knowledge or understanding...much like the holocaust in general. Perhaps only certain people are privy to the truth... Anne, awaiting El Nino's contribution to Colorado tomorrow =============== Reply 4 of Note 27 =================  
To: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Date: 02/24 From: UHUB31A D RANDALL Time: 10:50 PM Anne -- I need to add that this concept is more applicable to years gone by. Does it still fit when we consider that in our lifetimes we sent men up to walk on the surface of the moon? Or is it still workable because those of us who have never actually had that experience are still in that 'awed' state of incomprehensibility? Perhaps the real truth is that no one knows except those who were there and survived it. The first hand stories recorded and told (not that they were all told) are the only way for others to begin to know about these things. The official wettest winter in California history since 1877 just announced on the news. Hope El Nino isn't too hard on you! Dottie =============== Reply 5 of Note 27 =================  
To: UHUB31A D RANDALL Date: 02/25 From: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Time: 8:18 PM Dottie, El Nino blew right over us, strong enough to rrearrange the patio furniture, but without the expected snow dump. Regarding the moon, to those of us who view it from afar only, it has such a mystical quality. Probably to those so fortunate to have walked on it, too. I'm getting this image right now of all the old bones on the this correct? (my book is on loan & I can't verify) Was this symbolic of heaven, of lost souls or spirits? So many questions...and none of the reviews I've seen address any answers, so it ain't just me!--Anne =============== Reply 6 of Note 27 =================  
To: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Date: 02/25 From: UHUB31A D RANDALL Time: 11:00 PM Anne --- I had a completely different take on the bones on the moon -- the moon fell into one of those mass graves full of Holocaust victims. Maybe that is also off the mark but that was my thought. I like the lost souls thought but like you I am truly struggling to find understanding here. Glad El Nino didn't hit you -- we had cold and wind today but are actually supposed to hit 70 degrees come Sat -- first in a LONG while. Dottie, who needs to read all those extra goodies that came with ABOTM --- but can't tear herself away from The Gospel According To The Son --- SOON I'll be done and then will read these and post what I find on ABOTM =============== Reply 7 of Note 27 =================  
To: UHUB31A D RANDALL Date: 02/26 From: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Time: 9:39 PM Dottie, I hope all the "goodies" you found in the back of the book add some needed insight here! Keep me posted. And tell me more about the Mailer book. I've passed that one over several times, somewhat reluctantly. I have read many of his books, but got so bogged down in OSWALD'S TALE that I avoided the new one. What do you think...should I put it back on my list? Anne =============== Reply 8 of Note 27 =================  
To: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Date: 02/27 From: UHUB31A D RANDALL Time: 5:51 PM Anne -- THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO THE SON was really relatively easy reading although I did take longer with it than with many of the others I've torn through lately. I enjoyed it -- it is almost sacreligious I suppose for some folks but I was both intrigued and amused by the different view offered herein. I don't think that some of what was obviously intended to provoke reaction would result in derailing one's faith necessarily -- but much of it does allow for open dialogue and might raise too many questions for some while opening the door for others to begin to believe what they couldn't quite do previously. Do read it and let me know what you think here! Dottie =============== Reply 9 of Note 27 =================  
To: UHUB31A D RANDALL Date: 02/28 From: KXBZ24A ANNE WILFONG Time: 1:22 PM Dottie, thanks for the recommendation. It'll go back on my list, and I'll probably getto it sooner than later. I hope. Nearly picked it up today at the grocery store! Anne, whose preferred way of enjoying this gorgeous day will be in front of the TV for the Duke-Carolina basketball game! (Go Blue Devils!)


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