Book Reviews

Eating the Moon by Mark David Campbell at NineStar Press

Genre Gay / Fantasy / Alternate Reality / Interracial / Romance
Reviewed by Serena Yates on 03-May-2021

Book Blurb

“What if there were a place nobody else knows about—a secret place—where everyone is queer?”

 

That’s the question Guy, a lonely elderly gay anthropologist, asks Richard, his young psychiatrist, as he searches for his tolerable truth.

 

During each session, Guy recalls surviving the sinking of a cargo ship and being washed ashore on an uncharted tropical island alongside the ship’s first mate, Luca. There, the two young men discover a world counter to everything they have ever known—a complex society in which almost everyone is homosexual.

 

In his naïve and awkward way, Guy attempts to win the love of a local man, but first he must undergo a brutal initiation ritual, endure a crazed shaman, and swim across shark-infested waters. Meanwhile, Luca, who is unable to accept his sexuality, becomes obsessed with being rescued and degenerates into drug dependency. When Luca attempts to steal a large stash of gold and leave the island, Guy is forced choose between staying with the man he loves or saving the life of the man who saved his.

 

Although enthralled by his tale, Richard must be constantly wary of Guy’s attempts to manipulate him, which threatens to upend his own sense of truth, leaving him to question if there could really be such a society or if it only exists within the fantasy of a lonely old gay man.

 

 

Warning: depictions of alcoholism and murder

First edition published by DSP Publications, August 2017.

 

Book Review

Do you ever have the impression that some books have just been written to completely confuse you? ‘Eating the Moon’ did exactly that to me, and I mean this in the best way possible. This novel is mysterious, complicated, and deeply psychological all at the same time. It is not only the story of Guy, an anthropologist who comes of age when he is sixty-seven and finally talks about the events of his life with a psychiatrist. It is also the story of that psychiatrist finding himself as he deals with what he hears and begins to examine his own beliefs. But there are more layers to this tale: there is an adventure on an uncharted tropical island, a society where homosexuality is the norm, and the story of two men who make very different decisions about how to deal with what they find.

I found Guy difficult to like at first, but I don’ think the author wrote him to be “soft and cuddly”. Guy is a man with some real issues about his sexuality, he is a complex character, and the growth he shows as events unfold may just be worth all his pain. Guy fascinated me and I was totally invested in finding out what happened to him and how his story would end. Guy is sixty-seven at the beginning of the novel and does no longer have any issues with being gay, but he felt a lot younger to me. His partying, taking of drugs, and drinking enough so he has blackouts has a lot to do with that. I did not see the revelations coming, but they make a lot of sense and give this story a very special twist.

Richard, the psychiatrist, is rather repressed himself, but he is doing a good job pulling the story out of Guy and, as such, has an important role. The subplot around him and Amando adds depth to his character, and elevated him from a secondary role to almost a second primary character. Then there are all the colorful people on the island, each with their own quirks and personalities. It brought the society Guy talks about to life in an interesting way that went beyond the tropical setting, mysterious rituals, and dangerous discoveries.

I found this novel to be very entertaining. It spoke to the explorer in me, and getting to know all the people on the island and their society was a lot of fun. All the rules about “correct” behavior they had developed are very different from Guy’s reality, and learning about them was interesting and I think the author did a great job in making the whole situation sound very credible – even though I was sort of aware it was a fantasy at the same time. But it is also a character study and getting to know Guy and all his fears and issues was just as fascinating as everything else.

If you like plots in worlds that are very different from ours, if you enjoy mysteries, shipwrecks, and almost non-stop revelations, and if you’re looking for a read that may make you wonder what is real and what isn’t, then you will probably like this novel as much as I do. The final twist alone is worth reading it, as far as I am concerned!

 

 

 

 

DISCLAIMER: Books reviewed on this site were usually provided at no cost by the publisher or author. This book has been provided by the publisher for the purpose of a review.

Additional Information

Format ebook
Length Novel, 88700 words
Heat Level
Publication Date 03-May-2021
Price $6.49 ebook
Buy Link https://ninestarpress.com/product/eating-the-moon/