Behind the Moon

Behind the Moon

5.0 1
by Hsu-Ming Teo
     
 

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Behind the Moon is a satisfying, original and thought-provoking pleasure.”—Good Reading Magazine
 
“Neatly balanc[es] betrayal and real drama, with farce and macabre, biting humour. . . . Highly recommended.”—Australian Bookseller & Publisher
 
Outsiders and misfitsSee more details below

Overview

Behind the Moon is a satisfying, original and thought-provoking pleasure.”—Good Reading Magazine
 
“Neatly balanc[es] betrayal and real drama, with farce and macabre, biting humour. . . . Highly recommended.”—Australian Bookseller & Publisher
 
Outsiders and misfits in their Australian school, three friends form a mutual bond: Justin Cheong, an only child and the idol of his Singaporean-Chinese parents; Tien Ho—daughter of a Vietnamese mother who stayed behind and an African American soldier she has never met—who lives with indifferent relatives; and Nigel “Gibbo” Gibson, an oddity: an Australian boy who, to his father’s chagrin, dislikes sports.
 
When Tien Ho’s mother arrives, the adjustment for mother and daughter is extreme. Gibbo is strongly attracted to beautiful, dainty Linh, to whom he is a kid, her daughter’s pal. And Justin discovers that he likes Gibbo as something more than a friend.
 
The three draw apart as they grow up, only to be reunited once more on Saturday, September 6, 1997, for the dinner Mrs. Cheong hosts for them and their parents, to watch the funeral of Princess Diana on television. This Dead Diana Dinner turns out to be a more explosive event than any of them would have dreamed possible.
 


From the Trade Paperback edition.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
A trio of "social cripples" meander through their Australian upbringings in Teo's disappointing sophomore novel (after Love and Vertigo). The social cripples in question are Justin, the gay child of Chinese immigrants; Tien Ho, the bitter out-of-wedlock daughter of a Vietnamese mother and African-American father; and Gibbo, a chubby white Australian who falls in love with Tien's mother. Their story centers on two reunions, a disastrous dinner party following the death of Princess Diana and a more somber gathering at Justin's hospital bed after a gay bashing. Unfortunately, overinflated prose (the characters are said to "lean and groan and cheer each other on... limping along the yellow brick road towards that place where there will be no trouble") and razor-thin characters spoil the narrative's possibilities. (Jan.) Copyright 2006 Reed Business Information.
Kirkus Reviews
Set in contemporary Australia, Teo's second novel (Love and Vertigo, not reviewed) is a beautifully crafted story of immigrant alienation, splintered families and the saving grace of friendship. In the suburbs of Sydney, Tien Ho, Nigel "Gibbo" Gibson and Justin Cheong have been friends since childhood, brought together by a kind of misfit camaraderie and ethnic bonding (Gibbo uselessly insists he's part Chinese), though culturally they couldn't be more dissimilar. Justin's parents are affluent Singaporeans, his father a doctor, his mother the cheerful master of their sanitary house (much is covered in plastic), and the two have high hopes for their son's future. At a piano lesson, he befriends Gibbo, the flabby, teary-eyed son of a tough Aussie dad and English mum, both dumbfounded by their unimpressive offspring. The two boys are later joined by Tien at school, half Vietnamese, half African-American, the product of her mother Linh's wartime romance. For most of her childhood,Tien is raised by aunts and uncles-they were able to escape with her to Australia while Lihn was mysteriously left behind. She regards prim Mrs. Gibson as the supreme maternal surrogate until Lihn arrives in Australia, and Tien is suddenly caught between two worlds. This uneasy space of compromise and disconnection is occupied by all three friends: Justin is gay and unable to reconcile his sexuality with the expectations of his family; Tien longs for a kind of assimilated Australian life that will erase the guilt she has for hating her traditional mother; and ironically, sad Gibbo longs for the kind of attention found in Asian families. The three move into adulthood, where they grapple with the loneliness of adeliberately forged identity, a territory that has little room for family or old friends. The book embodies the immigrant experience (even venturing into Lihn's past, from her childhood in Vietnam to her eventual middle-aged escape to dull suburbia) and never loses its emotional intimacy. In a world with increasingly flexible borders, Teo's fine novel about traditions lost, found and reshaped resonates beyond the Australian experience.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781569476710
Publisher:
Soho Press, Incorporated
Publication date:
01/01/2007
Sold by:
Barnes & Noble
Format:
NOOK Book
Pages:
372
File size:
1 MB

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