The Moon Sisters: A Novel by Therese WalshThe Moon Sisters: A Novel by Therese Walsh

The Moon Sisters: A Novel

byTherese Walsh

Hardcover | March 4, 2014

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This mesmerizing coming-of-age novel, with its sheen of near-magical realism, is a moving tale of family and the power of stories. 
   After their mother's probable suicide, sisters Olivia and Jazz take steps to move on with their lives. Jazz, logical and forward-thinking, decides to get a new job, but spirited, strong-willed Olivia—who can see sounds, taste words, and smell sights—is determined to travel to the remote setting of their mother's unfinished novel to lay her spirit properly to rest.
   Already resentful of Olivia’s foolish quest and her family’s insistence upon her involvement, Jazz is further aggravated when they run into trouble along the way and Olivia latches to a worldly train-hopper who warns he shouldn’t be trusted. As they near their destination, the tension builds between the two sisters, each hiding something from the other, until they are finally forced to face everything between them and decide what is really important.
THERESE WALSH is the author of The Last Will of Moira Leahy and the cofounder of Writer Unboxed. She lives in upstate New York with her husband and two children.
Title:The Moon Sisters: A NovelFormat:HardcoverDimensions:336 pages, 9.6 × 6.67 × 1.14 inPublished:March 4, 2014Publisher:Crown/ArchetypeLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0307461602

ISBN - 13:9780307461605


Bookclub Guide

1. Early in the story, Babka told her granddaughter, Olivia Moon, “Dreams like feet, better than knees,” which helped set Olivia and Jazz’s journey in motion. What did she mean by that? Do all of the characters embrace this idea, or do some resist it?2. Consider Branik’s belief that there are always two ways to look at things. When were characters made to see things in a different light? Were you, as a reader, ever surprised to find your perspective on something changing as you read, be it a character or situation? What prompted your shift?3. Olivia’s blindness is self-inflicted. Why do you think she stared at the sun? Has Jazz limited herself in other ways? How? Do you believe that narrowing life choices is a form of self-defense?4. What do Beth’s letters represent throughout the story? Why do you think Beth never sent them? Why do you think Jazz and Olivia similarly hid her letters from each other and the outside world? What would it have meant to let them go?5. What do Hobbs’ coins represent? Can you draw a comparison between the letters and the coins?6. Babka always said that the secret to life could be found in a bag of marbles. What do you think she meant by that? Do you agree? Does anyone in your family have a secret to life?7. Some, including Olivia, might say Jazz has an obsession with death. Why do you think Jazz has a collection of obituaries in her backpack? Why does she want to work at a funeral home? Does she want to find something there, or let go of something? What is she grappling with?8. It’s said that we unwittingly become our parents, and that our parents often coerce us into fulfilling their unrealized ambitions. Do you feel Olivia has adopted any of Beth’s old ambitions? What about Jazz? Does this make sense with Beth’s assertion that Olivia is her “old-mirror daughter,” while Jazz is a “new mirror”? Do you see “versions of self” in your family?9. Consider the idea of atonement. Jazz felt Beth lived most of her adult life seeking atonement for the behavior that led to an estrangement from her father. Did Jazz live her life similarly? How? Is atonement a possible motivation for any of Olivia’s actions throughout the story?10. “All of the best living happens on the edges.” What do you think Hobbs means by this? Do you agree with him?11. While walking past the Mill Point Federal Prison, which had been an open prison, Hobbs tells Jazz that “prison is a state of mind.” Why do you think this statement stays with her for as long as it does? How is the idea relevant to her life?12. What do the will-o’-the-wisp lights represent to Beth? What do they represent to Olivia? Is this the same or different?13. It’s thought that will-o’-the-wisp lights, or “foolish fires,” are never attainable. What do you think? What “foolish fires” are in your own life? Do you pursue them, or watch them from afar?14. Do you believe that Olivia succeeds in finding the lights in the end, or not?15. How are both Olivia and Jazz altered by their journey? What do you think each of them will take away from their time together that could help them throughout the rest of their lives?16. Olivia said that hope, to her, tasted like “a mix of berries, just a hair shy of ripe, with a drizzle of honey and another drizzle of lemon, and coffee with cream, and ice water when you hold it in your mouth until the ice melts. With a dash of salt. And maybe some mint.” If “hope” had a taste for you, what would it taste like? What would it look like? What would it sound like? Would you fight to preserve it? How far would you go in the name of hope?17. What do you think happened to Beth? What are your thoughts on her last letter—what it said, and what became of it?

Editorial Reviews

A Library Journal 2014 Best in Women's Fiction“Wonderful…Walsh, who sets her novel in the remoter and magical regions of West Virginia, constructs a gripping story, rich in thematic texture and narrative technique.” –The Roanoke Times“A mesmerizing novel with two unique, unforgettable and interesting characters — the Moon sisters. [Walsh] explores family dynamics, love, dreams, ambition and more…If you have a sister, The Moon Sisters will probably touch you in an even deeper way, as it explores the complicated relationships between siblings, especially when parents are unstable themselves. Once you've read a novel by Walsh, you'll want to read more. She has an amazing way with language and building characters you want to get to know.” –The News-Gazette“Walsh has written a beautiful, lush novel fueled by a fairy-tale journey of grief, love, and will-o'-the-wisps. Fans of coming-of-age novels and magical realism will be drawn in and may never want to leave.” –Library Journal, starred review“Both heartbreaking and hopeful, the Moon sisters’ journey is no quixotic quest, and readers will find themselves completely immersed in their transformative search. This magical, moving tale is not to be missed.” –Booklist, starred review“Luminous… Walsh explores how the [Moon] sisters’ experience of the outside world transforms their views of each other and themselves, in a book packed with invention and rich characterizations.” –Publishers Weekly“Their journey is…one of self-discovery and growth. Their most important lesson is nicely summed up by Jazz near the end: ‘I guess we can’t control life, or the people in it. … But we can control ourselves — right now, in this moment. That’s something. Maybe it’s everything.’” –Minneapolis Star Tribune“Therese Walsh has done it again.  She is fast becoming known for delivering lush, emotional and deeply atmospheric reads that never disappoint.  Her second book, The Moon Sisters, is a magical journey of grief, hope and the power of family bonds.  It is a novel for the senses, a harmony of sounds, sights, scents and tastes, the likes of which you have never experienced before.  You won't want to miss this one.” –Sarah Addison Allen, New York Times bestselling author of Lost Lake “The Moon Sisters by Therese Walsh shimmers on the precipice where the grief-stricken teeter between loss and recovery, a place that often resembles madness. Sisters Olivia and Jazz battle as they hold each other tight in this touching coming of age tale that weighs family loyalty against distinctive truths. Walsh leavens magic realism with humor, balances enchantment and pragmatic truth, and stirs them into a poignant family story.” –Randy Susan Meyers, author of The Murderer’s Daughters “Emotionally taut and intricately woven, The Moon Sisters takes us on a dreamlike journey that is at once literal and literary. A story of family ties stretched to their limits and the underlying wound that bothbinds and breaks them. Therese Walsh has created a compelling read I couldn't put down and a world of authentic travelers who linger long beyond the final pages. A tale of true sisterhood.” –Brunonia Barry, New York Times and International bestselling author of The Lace Reader and The Map of True Places“The Moon Sisters is a novel to fall in love with… to break your heart over… to linger with and think about after you’ve finished the last of Walsh’s lovely, singing, heart-wrenching words. There is magic in the story and in the language itself and you’ll find yourself wanting to buy a copy for your sister, or your best friend… just so you have someone to share it with.” –M.J. Rose, international bestselling author of Seduction and The Book of Lost Fragrances“This breezy read combines soulful mysticism, the complexities of sibling relationships, and adventure travel as two sisters search for the answers to their novelist mother’s sudden and suspicious death.” –Yoga Journal