Raven Stole the Moon

Raven Stole the Moon

by Garth Stein

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Overview

“Deeply moving, superbly crafted, and highly unconventional.” Washington Times

Raven Stole the Moon is the stunning first novel from Garth Stein, author of the phenomenal New York Times bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain.

A profoundly poignant and unforgettable story of a grieving mother’s return to a remote Alaskan town to make peace with the loss of her young son, Raven Stole the Moon combines intense emotion with Native American mysticism and a timeless and terrifying mystery, and earned raves for a young writer and his uniquely captivating imagination.

According to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, this remarkable novel “serves notice that Stein is a rare talent.”

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061806384
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 03/09/2010
Pages: 445
Sales rank: 212,473
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.90(d)

About the Author

Garth Stein is the author of Enzo Races in the Rain!, based on the New York Times bestselling novel The Art of Racing in the Rain (and its tween adaptation, Racing in the Rain). His other works include A Sudden Light, How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets, Raven Stole the Moon, and a play, Brother Jones. He is the cofounder of Seattle7Writers.org, a nonprofit collective of sixty-two Northwest authors dedicated to fostering a passion for the written word. Garth lives in Seattle with his family and his dog, Comet.

Hometown:

Seattle, Washington, USA

Date of Birth:

December 6, 1964

Place of Birth:

Los Angeles, California

Education:

BA Columbia University, Columbia College, '87, MFA Columbia University, School of the Arts, '90

Read an Excerpt

From Chapter One

John Ferguson stood on the dock next to the seaplane and watched as the small figure in the Boston Whaler approached. The blue boat got closer and the sound of its big outboard engine tore into the peaceful Alaskan morning, forcing a c

Fergie had to laugh to himself. He was paying some Indian specialist five grand to come and check the place out. At a community board meeting in the neighboring town of Klawock, people suggested that he call Dr. David Livingstone, because he's the best around. Fergie jokingly said, "I didn't know witch doctors got to use the title 'doctor,'" and he found that he had offended almost everyone in the room. Turns out the guy is a shaman and a Ph.D. Go figure.

The boat was within twenty yards now, and Fergie was surprised to see that Dr. Livingstone was a young, good-looking man, not the old, shriveled-up Indian in a canoe he had expected. He waved at the boat and received an acknowledging wave in return. The boat pulled up and the young man hopped out.

"Ferguson?" the young man asked, tying the boat to the dock.

"Dr. Livingstone, I presume."

Fergie had been working on that line for about a week. He had been dying to say it, but he was desperately afraid it would offend. It didn't seem to. Dr. Livingstone smiled.

"David."

David reached into the boat and pulled out several old burlap bundles. He arranged them in a row on the dock. Fergie didn't know if he should offer to help or if the bundles were Indian magic and he would taint them by touching them. He uncomfortably shifted from foot to foot, watching.

"Well, what do you think? Do you have any first impressions?" he asked hopefully. "Any spirits of Tlingit past haunting the place?" Fergie tried to pronounce the Indian name correctly, so as not to sound ill-informed. Klink-it. Having heard a real Indian pronounce it, he knew that it was actually supposed to sound more guttural, like a big bite being taken out of an apple.

David finished unloading his bundles and stood upright. He was not tall, about five-six or so, with black hair that grew down to his waist and a soft-featured round face. His open brown eyes seemed to celebrate vision, and when he turned to Fergie, he appeared to draw closer.

"How much do you know about the Tlingits, Ferguson?"

"Oh, I don't know," Ferguson hedged. He had figured he would be in for a pop quiz, so he studied the entry in The Encyclopedia of the American Indian. "I know that the Tlingits and the Haida were the two biggest tribes in this area. Their main economy was fishing and trapping. They traded with the Russians and the British. In the late 1800s the government outlawed native languages and potlatches, but that's over now."

"Well, that's not exactly true," Livingstone corrected. "You understand the spirit of the law but not the letter of it."

Ferguson's sigh was a bit louder than he had intended. He closed his mouth and looked past Livingstone's shoulder at the white-peaked blue mountains in the distance.

"The government didn't actually outlaw native languages and potlatches," David explained. "What they did is define civilized Indians as those who didn't associate with any other Indians. Indians who did associate with other Indians were considered uncivilized and were sent to reservations or Indian schools. So the effect of the law, as you correctly deduced, was to eliminate native languages and potlatches. But that wasn't the law itself."

"I didn't know that."

"The white man is far too clever to do anything with the outward appearance of impropriety."

Ferguson nodded slowly, He had just met Livingstone, but already he wasn't sure he liked him. There was something appealing about him, but it was buried under a cockiness and arrogance that turned Ferguson off.

David knelt down and unrolled one of the bundles. Inside were strings of beads and animal claws.

"Do you know anything about our beliefs?" David asked. "Our legends?"

Ferguson decided to play it safe. No more stupid answers. Not another possibility for an embarrassing reply. Sometimes silence is your best defense. He shook his head.

"I see. But you think this place is haunted by our ghosts?"

Ferguson swallowed hard. Caught again. He wanted to tell David what he really thought, that this was all a big pain in his ass. That he was just doing it because a group of Japanese investors were going to put up a lot of money, but they insisted that the resort be "spiritually cleansed" before the deal was finalized. But Fergie knew better than to say something like that. That would be too straightforward.

"Look, Doctor, as much as I would have loved to study all about the Tlingit culture, my hands are real full trying to get this place up and running for some prospective investors in July. I apologize, but I just haven't had the time."

"Don't be defensive, Ferguson, it was just a simple question. I wanted to know where we stood. Now I know." David's innocent and sincere look made Fergie even more uncomfortable. He desperately wanted to fill the void between them, so he spoke.

"The general partners have made a commitment to being as sensitive as possible to the history of the area and the culture of the Tlingit peoples," Ferguson said. "We don't want to move ahead and find out later on that we have a ... uh, you know ... a situation."

"A lawsuit-type situation, or The Shining-type situation?"

Fergie squirmed. Damn, this guy really knew how to put a guy on the spot.

"Uh, well, I would say, definitely, well, both."

David smiled at him with his big, warm eyes, and Fergie settled down. He hated talking with these people because he always managed to say something offensive. You can't use your normal language with minorities. You start worrying about what words you can use, and then you sound uncomfortable, and then they take that as your being racist, and then it's all messed up.

"I tell you what, Ferguson," David started. "You have your lawyers use their magic to take care of the lawsuit situations, and I'll use my magic to take care of the ghost situations. How's that sound?"

Ferguson exhaled deeply and grinned. "Sounds good to me, Doctor. After all, you're the doctor."

David unrolled another bundle. Ferguson could see a part of a deer antler.

"What exactly are you going to do to take care of the ghost situations? Just out of curiosity."

David looked up. "I'm gonna dress up in feathers, shake a rattle, and throw some magic dust around. I'm an Indian, what do you think I'm gonna do?"

David laughed. And Ferguson, surprised but pleased, laughed, too.

Copyright © 1998 by Garth Stein

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Raven Stole the Moon 3.9 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 86 reviews.
Ryan_G More than 1 year ago
I have to admit upfront that I had never heard about this book or the author before, which after reading it I should be apologizing for, so when I was offered a chance to read the reissue of the book and I read the synopsis, I jumped at the chance. Now I will also have to admit to feeling a little disappointment when I first got the book and glimpsed the cover. It looked like any other book out there and had a hint of "chick lit" to it. If I had seen the book in a store, sitting on a new release table, I would not have picked it up. I actually looked up the earlier cover for the book, and while it wasn't the best either, I felt that it caputred the mysterious aspect of the book better. While this cover seems to say not much other than that it's pretty. Now that I got that off my chest, I have to say I loved this book. The story was a blend of drama, mystery, paranormal, myth, and fantasy all rolled up into a very cohesive book that even when it took the fantastical turns, you always feel as if it's real. Jenna and Robert (her husband) felt like real people trying to deal with their loss in different ways which caused strain in the relationship. It just so happens that on the anniversary of their son's death they are required to go to a dinner party which ends up being too much for Jenna. She ends up taking off and ends up back in Alaska where the tragedy happened. Jenna meets three individuals who are to become very important in her life, Oscar the loveable dog who may be more than he seems, Eddie the adorable fisherman, and David the tribal shaman who is dealing with demons of his own. With their help Jenna takes a terrifying and touching journey to discover what happened to her son and where he is at now. I've been struggling to do this review simply because so much of this book is important to the story and I don't want to give too much away. The last thing I will say is that I felt this book was the perfect blend of the fantastic and realism, that the way these two elements are blended is seamless and you aren't always sure where one ends and the other begins.
tweezle More than 1 year ago
I had heard about a lot of good things about Garth Stein's work, and was excited to be able to review one of his novels. With all the great things I've heard, I had created some high expectations I was really hoping this book would live up to. It not only lived up to them, but exceeded them! From the first page, I found myself under the spell of this highly emotional story. There was just no way, after starting it, that I was able to put it down. The characters were extremely well crafted and realistic. The storyline was beautifully and masterfully told. I was very impressed with the way that Stein wove Tlingit folklore throughout the story, making it real and almost believable. My heart broke for the main character, Jenna, and the loss of her son. I understood her need for closure and was aching right along with her. Not many characters will get to me the way that hers did. "Raven Stole the Moon" has made my favorites list for this year. It's powerful, thrilling, suspenseful, gripping, and will scare the pants off you! Make sure you add it to your reading list if you haven't already. This is a new updated version of the original novel that was released in 1998. Mr. Stein made a few changes and cut out a lot of the vulgarity. The reason for Adult Audience rating: This book has some descriptive sex, language, and other adult themes that would make it questionable for older teens. Please read before deciding if you should or should not give it to your older teen. It's a great story, but the content is sometimes harsh.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I thought this book was well written, it seemed a little slow in parts, but the story kept my attention. I didn't know much about it when I started reading, but now I am a bit more interested in Alaskan folklore. I would recommend this book.
Lencrest More than 1 year ago
Not as good as Racing in the Rain but pretty good. Similar style and a quick read.
NatalieTahoe More than 1 year ago
Garth Stein wrote The Art of Racing in the Rain, but I unfortunately never got a chance to pick it up and read it. I always meant to get to it, but life seemed to get in the way. So I was even more excited to receive a copy of Raven Stole the Moon from Sarah Daily at Terra Communications. Originally released in 1998, it's now been released again -- and rightfully so. After reading it, I can see how it fits much better into today's market, and I fully expect this book to become incredibly popular. Jenna Rosen is married and living in Seattle with her husband, Robert. Her life now is strained and tired and she is unable to move through it with some type of normalcy. Some time has passed since the heartbreaking day when her young five-year-old son slipped over into the water, disappearing from the surface while on a vacation near her Native American grandmother's hometown of Wrangell, Alaska. The resort of Thunder Bay was never approved to be built by the local shaman, but investors and sales pushed forward. The need to make money kept the shaman's advice buried and tragedy happened. Jenna's life is now filled with therapists, medication, and alcohol, all in hopes to rebuild some type of life, but nothing seems quite right. One night two years later, Jenna is compelled to travel to Alaska from Seattle, leaving her husband and strained marriage behind at a party of co-workers with no idea of where she went. What follows is an incredible mixture of Native American tradition and culture with a searing mystery and deep love, loss, and sadness. I was perplexed and drawn into the mystery of the kushtaka and felt the creepy and prickly fear of looking over my shoulder as I learned about lost souls, native rituals and the Tlingit shaman strength to protect the land and people. My heart broke for Jenna as she struggled to understand what happened on "that day," how Native American legend may play a part of it, and I was completely racing with page-turning anxiety any time she was alone in a hotel room, the forest, or on the Alaskan shoreline. Is Jenna crazy or is the legend of the shapeshifting kushtaka true? And could the dog that saved her life really be something much more? Garth Stein has captured an atmosphere within Raven Stole the Moon that is memorable and spooky -- a re-released debut novel that effortlessly combines a story of true loss and one woman's path while grieving, with the supernatural touch of true Native American culture. I could not put this one down, and read it within a couple of days. If I didn't have that pesky day job, it would easily have been finished in one sitting, as I enjoyed it so. This is one to read at the fireside and have your dog or cat by your side to let you know if you really should pay attention to the bristling hairs on the back of your neck... http://coffeeandabookchick.blogspot.com
yourotherleft on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Raven Stole the Moon is author Garth Stein's debut novel, which has since been followed by The Art of Racing in the Rain. Given the latter novel's recent impressive success, Raven Stole the Moon has been nicely repackaged and released anew by Harper. I haven't read The Art of Racing in the Rain, unfortunately, so I can't very well compare the two, but Raven Stole the Moon stands perfectly well on its own two feet (or its own 400 some pages, I should say).The central character in Stein's new (old?) novel, is Jenna Rosen. The opening chapter of the book finds Jenna leaving a cocktail party on the second anniversary of her son's accidental death. Without planning to, Jenna finds herself driving away from her husband and their marriage and embarking on a journey to find out the truth about what really happened the couple's son, Bobby, at a would-have-been Alaskan resort. Taking refuge in her grandmother's hometown of Wrangell, Alaska, Jenna begins search for answers that proves to be none too simple as she encounters temptation in the form of an injured fisherman and as she plumbs the depths of Tlingit mythology only to find that nothing is as it seems. I hate to say too much more lest I spoil a single thing about Raven Stole the Moon, a novel with the plot of a good thiller or even horror novel that doesn't sacrifice characters or themes to suspense. The book is very well-paced, and the mystery keeps the pages turning. Where Stein really succeeds, though, is in elevating Raven Stole the Moon over some of its horror genre counterparts by giving us a set of really well-developed multi-dimensional characters as well as exploring the deeper issues that face those characters. It would be easy to make Jenna and her husband Robert unequivocally bad. Jenna is obviously selfish in her quest to find answers, using whoever she needs to get what she wants, plowing over the lives and needs of those around her as she pursues her goal. It's easy to hate Robert who hires a private investigator to find out what Jenna's up to and considers drugs and hookers as revenge against his wandering wife. Then, however, Stein brings out the death of the couple's son and the decimation it has wreaked upon both of them as individuals and as a couple, explores the road the two have taken to get where they are, the struggles and the misunderstandings, and ultimately the love they had, and might still have even in the aftermath of a tragedy that threatens their marriage. Suddenly, instead of seeing two rotten people made more rotten by the death of their son, we see two struggling characters who ultimately deserve our sympathy. Like the Tlingit patron saint Raven, these characters are neither good nor bad, they just are. Raven Stole the Moon is a richly atmospheric and completely absorbing story that takes Tlingit myth and legend, mixes in a heartbreaking tragedy, and ends up with a satisfying blend of thriller and love story that will keep you turning pages until the very last question is answered.
cmwilson101 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein is a book which is hard to categorize. It is one part spiritual journey, one part horror, one part chick lit (dealing with grief & death & love & marriage), and one part Indian folklore. The story revolves around Jenna, a woman who cannot come to terms with her son's death by drowning. One the second anniversary of his death, she leaves her husband at a dinner party and travels back to the remote Alaskan Indian settlement where her son drowned. Once she is back in Alaska, strange things happen to her. She gets caught up in a spiritual world and is unsure of whether it is real or imagined. Mr Stein does a beautiful job of showing the world from Jenna's eyes, where the line between reality and fantasy is blurred and unclear. Interesting and thought-provoking.
zibilee on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
After an argument with her husband at a party, Jenna Rosen impulsively takes off on an unplanned trip to Alaska. Jenna and Robert have been struggling with their marriage since their young son Bobby drowned at a posh resort near the Alaskan coast. The fight is the last straw for Jenna, who drives away from the party in her husband's car and boards a ferry taking her to what will be a very confusing, yet cathartic destination. Upon arriving, Jenna begins to check out the small town of Wrangell, where she is immediately drawn into stories and legends of the Tlingit Indians and the Tlingit kushtaka spirits, who are the thieves of souls. Meeting a local man named Eddie who offers her a room in his home in which to stay, Jenna is quickly drawn into strange circumstances and she soon comes to believe that the kushtaka spirits are not just a legend. Jenna has reason to believe that these spirits have stolen away her son's soul and that they are after hers as well. With her relationship with Eddie becoming more than just platonic and her growing belief that the malevolent kushtaka spirits are vying for her soul, Jenna escapes once again to find an Alaskan shaman to help her outrun the kushtaka and to restore her son's soul to rest. Blending elements of magical realism with the interpersonal story of Jenna's life, Raven Stole the Moon is a very complex and dark work of fiction.I have read numerous good reviews of Garth Stein's book The Art of Racing in the Rain, and though I have not yet read it, I have been looking forward to sampling something by this author. I was very pleased to have been contacted to review this book, a re-release of Stein's first work of fiction that forays deeply into the magical realism genre. I have to say that the book was a little different than what I had been expecting, but nonetheless it was a great reading experience.First of all, I felt that the relationship that was portrayed between Jenna and her husband Robert was very convincing and realistic. The arguments that they got caught up in were intensely dramatic and real and at times I would wince at the abuse that the two of them were hurling at each other. At no time did I feel that the couple didn't love each other anymore. Rather I felt that the heartache that was their son's death had compromised their emotions and minds and they couldn't seem to get any kind of emotional equilibrium achieved. It was very sad to see them so distraught, and by alienating each other, they were really alienating themselves. There are some sections of the book that deal with Jenna's total inability to cope with her child's death and her foray into prescription drug addiction and alcoholism. I felt that those sections were also realistic and they made me feel doubly sad for Jenna because it was clear that she had no handle on her feelings at all. When she basically runs away from her husband to travel to Alaska, I had been hoping that she would be able to use her time away as a means of healing herself and putting the past behind her.But Jenna doesn't seem able to outrun her past, because from the moment she sets foot in Alaska, forces beyond her control seem to be gathering towards her, pushing their way into her mind and forcing her to believe in things that she finds at first outlandish. When she meets Eddie and begins to camp out at his house, he stresses to her the bizarreness and unbelievability of the ideas that Jenna is beginning to have, which drives a wedge between them. Though they are both attracted to one another, the tension of their differing beliefs keeps them apart, and it is in this section that we first begin to see the subtle magical realism in the tale creeping out of the story.Though Robert is frantic to find his wife, Jenna seems to have no time to devote to thoughts of Robert, or Eddie for that matter, because she is starting to feel oddly compelled to discover whether the legendary kushtaka spirits have stolen her son's soul. Though it seems to b
fredamans on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I knew this book was a hit for me, when I fought with myself over whether to go to sleep or read one more chapter. In the end, I finished this story in 2 days.From the moment I started reading, I was pulled in. Gradually the book built up, and in a way that half the book was done before I noticed.I really loved how the author formed the characters in the story. Each one highlighted in a way, that wasn't too descriptive yet gave you everything you needed.Beautifully written, and truly an amazing story.I am recommending this book to everyone. Please note there is some foul language in it, but so worth reading it to get the tale.
kraaivrouw on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
When I was growing up my mother was a storyteller. She told Southern folk tales and some Celtic tales, but most of all she loved to tell trickster stories, so I grew up with Raven and Jack and Anansi, and I was definitely curious to read this book because of its title and loose association with the story of how Raven stole the moon. I spent summers in Seattle from the time I was in the third grade and lived there for ten years (before the rain forced me to flee), so I like to keep my eye on Seattle writers. I haven't read Garth Stein's other book (The Art of Racing in the Rain), which I think of as the dog book because of the amazingly cute cover, but now I will.This book draws on the folklore of the Tlingit people to frame its utterly modern tale of Jenna and her search for her son who she can't quite believe is dead. Escaping her safe Seattle life for Wrangell, Alaska, Jenna is forced to face her fears, her beliefs, her history, her choices, and her life as she struggles to put together the pieces of the ancient puzzle that may bring her son back to her.Stein tells a great story here - it's a real page-turner with plenty of creepy, scary moments that will make you wonder what else may be out there. In a way this is a story that has been told over and over again and yet Stein tells it through fresh eyes that are never sentimental, never cliched, never simple. The characters are utterly believable as are their choices. I loved that Stein never took the easy way out. He held my attention and made me want to keep reading long past my bedtime.Thanks to the nice people at Terra Communications for giving me an advance copy of this book to review.
NeedMoreShelves on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I was actually pretty nervous about this book - not too far in, it took a decided turn toward magical realism. You may or may not know this, but magical realism and I do NOT get along. I consistently struggle with being able to become fully immersed in these types of stories, and often find them a chore to get through.I was pleasantly surprised, then, to find myself becoming quickly engrossed in this tale of magic and tragedy in a small Alaskan town. I found the sections with David, the shaman, to be particularly powerful, and found his tales of Tlingit mythology to be fascinating. Stein does a masterful job of bringing the spirits and lore of the kushtaka to life in the pages of his story, and it completely worked for me, in ways that I would have never suspected.It did take me a little while to really connect with the characters - especially Jenna, although I suspect this was more a result of the narrative style (short, choppy sentences which seemed somewhat abrupt in the initial sections about Jenna) - and once Jenna got to Alaska and the story picked up, I became so involved that this was no longer an issue.And it is a great story - not only the fascinating pieces of native Tlingit lore, but the themes of love and loss and forgiveness were perfectly woven together to make for a completely compelling read. I definitely enjoyed it - if you were a fan of Stein's recent mega-hit, The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is a must-read!
Cherylk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ever since the drowning her heir son, Bobby two years ago, Jenna Rosen and her husband, Robert are more like strangers then husband and wife. Jenna decides to get away from her life and Robert for a while. She takes off for Alaska. This is where it all began. Where Bobby drowned. Jenna experiences some strange things like¿a wolf or wolf type dog chases her through the woods. Jenna meets a man named David. He is a shaman. He tells Jenna of a legend hat the Tlingits believe. It has to do with the belief that not all people die peacefully, so people¿s souls are trapped to wither wander aimlessly or take form in another being. What does this have to do with Bobby? Could this mean that he might be alive after all?Raven Stole the Moon is the first book I have read by Garth Stein. I have wanted to try his work out when I first heard about The Art of Racing in the Rain but just haven¿t gotten around to it. After reading this book, I definitely plan to check the book out. I have to admit that I did get a little lost at first trying to figure out in my mind about how the shaman and the Tlingit beliefs really played a part in this story and Jenna¿s son¿s death. Once I out it all straight, I was able to fully sit back and immerse myself in this book. I found that I absolutely was delighted with this book as well as Mr. Stein¿s writing style. He really brought the characters to alive on an emotional level that made you connect with them in the moment. I only have one last comment to make and that is¿ you have got to check Raven Stole the Moon for yourself.
GRgenius on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
A great story combining the ties of family life, love and loss with native mystical lore to create a story you won't soon forget.Jenna and Robert seem to have it all. A great life, great friends, and their little boy, Bobby. While trying to expand their earthly wealth, they travel to the newly built Thunder Bay Resort for a little business and a little pleasure. But things are not always what they seem, for the land this place inhabits was owned long before the business officers arrived...and they mean to keep what they feel entitled to.
knittingmomof3 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
From My Blog....Raven Stole the Moon is a hauntingly beautiful, heart-wrenching page-turner, which immediately captures the reader's attention and does not let go. Garth Stein's novel weaves in the beliefs and the culture of the Tlingit of Alaska, in this well-written novel filled with a deep sadness, Native American legends, and the longing to become whole. The novel begins with the 2-year anniversary of the death of Jenna Rosen's son, whose body was never recovered in the wilderness of Alaska. Jenna heads to Wrangell, Alaska, in a desperate attempt to find answers to the strange and mysterious circumstances surrounding her son's death. Robert, left behind in Seattle, desperate to find Jenna, hires a private investigator to find his wife. Stein does an exceedingly brilliant job with this novel. Raven Stole the Moon is a vividly written novel, which came at times to be rather disturbing, however, not without reason, which is one of the reasons Raven Stole the Moon is such a brilliant and haunting novel of love, loss, and the question of what being whole truly means. Stein's novel would make for an excellent weekend of reading, be certain to have tissues handy.
bagambo on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Garth Stein's third novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, was a huge success. It was so successful, that I do believe a movie is being made as a result. In order to capitalize on Stein's success, his publishers have decided to re-release his first novel. Originally published in 1998, Raven Stole the Moon, tells the story of Jenna Rosen. Two years ago at the Thunder Bay Resort, near Wrangell, Alaska (the hometown of her Native American grandmother), Jenna's young son, Bobby, disappeared. She has no idea what happened to him, let alone what happened to his soul. Unable to let go of her grief, Jenna suddenly decides that she must go back to Wrangell. And she must go now. Leaving her husband at a party they were attending together, Jenna hops into their car and soon finds herself heading towards her past. Once in Wrangell, Jenna becomes involved with a local fisherman, gets threatened by the Kushtakas (spirits that steals souls) and schooled about the Kushtakas by a shaman. She soon realizes that Bobby's soul has been captured by the Kushtakas and she must now find a way to aid Bobby's soul to the Land of the Dead Souls, where he will finally be able to rest. Stein has created a novel that is both interesting and engaging. We have the undying love of a mother, Native American legends, a marriage riddled with grief and unhappiness and the Alaskan wilderness. Jenna Rosen is a character that you can't help but befriend. You feel her sadness and want her to pull through this journey of rescue, because not only is she saving her son's soul, but she is also saving herself in the process. The rest of the characters in the book are written so vividly and accurately, that you can easily visualize them. In fact, it is through these textured characters that we are introduced to the various Tlingit legends, which I believe helped make the spiritual aspect of the novel accessible. As for the Alaskan backdrop, Stein has clearly captured the wilderness and small town feel of Wrangell. The tone and strength of Stein's writing and voice are well defined in this debut novel. In fact, I believe that from the first page of the novel, Stein easily draws you into Jenna Rosen's world. You want to find out why this woman is thinking about drowning herself in the tub and why the notion of survival instinct is inherent in her thoughts. How did Jenna Rosen get to this mindset? Raven Stole the Moon is definitely a book that I would highly recommend. It is not my usual book fare, but I am truly glad that I decided to give it a go. Based on this book, I will be picking up Stein's other works and adding them to my TBR list.
bookwormygirl on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Two years ago, Jenna Rosen¿s son, Bobby, drowned while on vacation in Alaska. To her dismay, his body was never found and she had to return home with her loss and grief. While Robert, Jenna's husband has gotten over his grief, Jenna has found nothing that can help her get over or forget the loss of her son, putting strain on their marriage and making them act more like strangers than a husband and wife.One night Jenna just can't take it anymore and decides she needs to leave, while in the middle of one of Robert's business parties, she just gets in the car and drives off. She eventually finds herself in Wrangell, Alaska, where her Native American grandmother lived - and just a few miles away from where Bobby drowned. There Jenna meets a shaman who tells her of the legends of the Tlingits and their beliefs as to a person's soul.As a big fan of Garth Stein and, of course, Enzo's, when I was contacted to review Raven Stole the Moon, I was like.... "ooh, ooh, me!" And although it seems this is one of Mr. Stein's previous works (maybe even his first), I was surprised by how much I actually enjoyed this story. It is definitely nothing like The Art of Racing in the Rain, this is more of a thriller, and at more than one point, it even felt creepy along the lines of a horror story. As a mother, you can't help but to feel Jenna's pain. The overwhelming loss of a child - trying anything and everything to overcome that grief and to eventually find a path to healing... it really is heartbreaking. This is her journey to not only save herself but also to save her son's soul.I really found it interesting to read of the Kushtakas (a/k/a shape-shifting soul stealers). I liked the mystery and even the fright that came with their myths and legends. Mr. Stein really has a way with words. I love the voice that he uses to narrate his stories. It was the same way with The Art of Racing in the Rain. I don't know if I can explain it right, but it's soft and soothing... even though there was a time or two where my hairs were standing on end... I found his writing calming.This is a heartwrenching story about grief, loss and healing that it is expertly intertwined with Native American folklore making it a fascinating read. I truly enjoyed it and would definitely recommend it.This book was provided for review Terra Communications.
writestuff on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jenna Rosen used to have a wonderful life ¿ married to a man she loved, raising a little boy who meant the world to her. But a fateful trip to Thunder Bay, a lavish resort in Alaska, steals away everything. Bobby, Jenna¿s five year old son dies in a drowning accident and Jenna feels responsible for his death. Her way of dealing with the guilt is to turn to alcohol and prescription drugs. Her husband, Robert, turns his grief to anger and directs it mostly at Jenna. Two years after Bobby¿s death, Jenna impulsively leaves Robert and boards a ferry from Seattle to a tiny town in Alaska where her grandmother once lived¿looking for answers in the cold and remote wilderness of Alaska.Jenna¿s journey for closure quickly becomes a terrifying ordeal where Jenna must not only sift through the legends and beliefs of her ancestors, but must face the devastation of her marriage.On its surface, Raven Stole the Moon is a supernatural thriller which brings to life the Tlingit (pronounced Klink-it) legend of the Kushtaka ¿ otter people who steal the souls of the dead. The Kushtaka are shape-shifters who can appear in whatever guise they desire to trick people into going with them. Jenna almost immediately encounters the Kushtaka upon her arrival in Alaska ¿ and Stein amps up the tension and fear, successfully driving the story forward.But to classify Raven Stole the Moon as just a thriller would be wrong. There are deeper issues embedded in the novel: how does a parent survive the loss of a child? And how does a marriage evolve or devolve in the aftermath of such an event? What role does religious faith play in recovery? How does someone forgive themselves for a tragedy for which they feel responsible? These questions resonate through the story. Jenna appears to have no religious faith until she discovers the religion of the Tlingit which puts her on a pathway to self-discovery and provides closure for the loss of her son. Her journey is not just a physical journey, it is a spiritual one.I read this novel in just under three days. The story pulled me in and made me want to continue reading to find the answers. I loved the German Shepherd who makes an appearance as Jenna¿s spirit guide. I admit to being terrified at some of the scenes when Jenna was being pursued by the Kushtaka. That said, the writing is not perfect. At times the dialogue felt stilted and I longed for more development of some of the supporting characters. I did not always understand Jenna or her motivations.Raven Stole the Moon is Garth Stein¿s debut novel ¿ released initially 13 years ago, it is now being re-released by Harper Collins after the success of his bestseller The Art of Racing in the Rain. I loved The Art of Racing in the Rain which I read last year (read my review). There are many differences between the two novels ¿ perhaps most obvious the level of the writing. Stein has certainly grown as a writer in the 13 years between books. Despite some of the flaws in the prose, Raven Stole the Moon is still a worthwhile read, especially for those interested in Native American legend. The strengths of the book are its engaging storyline and the theme of recovery through spiritual awareness.
tibobi on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The Short of It:Raven Stole the Moon is almost like reading two novels, side by side. There¿s the everyday, here and now part of it, and then there¿s the other part that centers around mysterious Native American legends and shapeshifters. At times, it¿s a wild ride.The Rest of It:Raven Stole the Moon is not a new book for Stein. In fact, it was first published back in 1998, but after his success with The Art of Racing in the Rain, his publisher decided to release this new edition of Raven Stole the Moon. However, when I first picked it up, I believed that this was a new book so I was a tad surprised when I came upon the afterward in the book and was told that it wasn¿t.I had mixed feelings over this book.The first half of the book worked for me. Jenna and her husband, Robert, experience what I believe, has got to be the hardest thing to get through; the death of a child. Jenna is grief-stricken, lost and confused and looking for closure. Stein does an excellent job of communicating that feeling of loss to me. Plus, I liked her a lot. She is easily someone who I could be friends with. When she arrives in Wrangell, Alaska she is sort of like flotsam in the sea. She just sort of drifts between point A and point B. When she lands into the arms of Eddie, their attraction is obvious.As we learn more about the circumstances of her son¿s death, we are introduced to the Kushtakas. The legends of the Tlingit center around shapeshifters that are part man, part otter. These Kushtakas are soul-stealers. They change shape to lure you in. Once captured, you spend the rest of eternity as one of them. So in essence, your soul is never at rest.The introduction to this legend intrigued me, but by the end of the book, much of it seemed far-fetched. I felt as if the novel was pulling in two different directions. Part of it wanted to stick to the relationship aspect between Jenna, her husband, and Eddie. The other part wanted to focus on the ancient legends but the two never really came together for me. I think it would have been a more powerful read, had a bit more time been spent on the ending to blend the two together.I will say this, this novel is quite different from anything I¿ve ever read. If you enjoy reading about Native American legends and can appreciate the spiritual aspect of the novel, you will enjoy this book. Also, Stein has a way with characters. Their mannerisms, their likes and dislikes, the way they use language, all come together to form real flesh and blood.Source: This ARC was provided by Terra Communications.
james0802 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Read this after enjoying Racing in the Rain so much. Although not as original as RITR, I thought this was also a great read. (The author wrote this over 10 years prior to RITR, but then took the unusual step of revising it after RITR's success. I appreciated his postscript describing what he changed, and why.)
JackieBlem on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is a slightly updated re-release of Stein's first novel originally published in 1996 and out of print for some time. Don't expect any Enzo-like characters here--this book is TERRIFYING, a flat out, brilliantly crafted horror story. Stein is a "blood quantum verified" registered member of the Tlingit Indian Tribe of Alaska (his great-grandmother was full blooded Tlingit), and he has taken one of their more terrifying legends and brought it to the modern world. This is a story about Kushtakas, otter spirit shapeshifters who steal souls from people found alone in the woods and waters near Klawock and Wrangell Alaska. Two years ago when Jenna's young son drowned in Thunder Bay, she had not heard the legends. But with her world falling apart around her in Seattle, Jenna decides to go back to Alaska and try to find peace. What she finds is a nightmare that leaves her fighting for her own life and soul. The writing in this book is masterful--I spent no small amount of time curled up in a ball keeping a wary eye on the windows and door locks while reading it. And the last 40 pages--I pretty much forgot to breathe. Yes, it's THAT good.
LiterateHousewife on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Jenna lost her son, Bobby, in a tragic drowning while on a business-related vacation with her family at a soon-to-be-opened wilderness lodge. Two years later at home with her husband Robert in Seattle, Jenna has yet to recover. She's seen numerous psychiatrists, but has yet to come to terms with Bobby's death and the changes their loss made to their marriage. After a fight at yet another business related event, Jenna takes off in Robert's car. At first she just wants to get home. In the end, she just keeps driving, running away from Robert by default. Eventually, she ends up headed on the ferry to Alaska, the home of her Tlingit grandmother and the place where Bobby died. Can returning to the source of so much pain in her life help her move forward, or will it send her further into depression and despair?The first half of this novel had all the makings of a great episode of "The X Files." After Jenna lands in Alaska after leaving Robert, she has the most creepy experiences. Because she doesn't completely trust her sanity, she's not sure if she believes what she sees. What she may have experienced is creepy and kept me on the edge of my seat. I loved the potential of kushtaka, the otter people gifted with the ability to shift their shape and "convert" souls. When Jenna wonders if the kushtaka are real and if they may have some connection to the death of her son, I could just imagine Mulder and Scully investigating and having a field day with all the possibilities. During that first half, I was in heaven. I felt that I could relate to Jenna and I wanted her to find her way to where ever it was that she needed to go.The second half of the novel didn't work as well for me. I grew impatient with Jenna and her attitude about anyone other than herself. The story became much less suspenseful because it featured Robert and his attempts to find Jenna more prominently. This weighted the novel down and was distracting. I wanted the novel to be about Jenna and her discoveries. I wasn't so much concerned about Robert. It's not that he didn't matter, but I wish there could have been more a more concise way to bring him back into the story without the play by play. Robert also put enough normalcy and reality back into the story that when the kushtaka arc built back up, I missed it. I was no longer prepared for it. Had I recognized it immediately, the end of this novel really would have packed a punch.I didn't like this novel as much as The Art of Racing in the Rain. However, Raven Stole the Moon was more challenging and in some ways more interesting. I enjoyed the Alaskan setting, history, and spirituality that were infused throughout. I liked that Jenna and Robert were a mess and were prone to making rotten decisions when under stress. It made them human. The highlight for me was the section where Jenna relives her last moments with Bobby. They were incredibly heartbreaking and powerful. Had Stein maintained the same pacing and level of suspense consistently throughout, this novel would have been absolutely incredible.
stellamaymarie More than 1 year ago
loved it. his characters and the story are brilliant.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I'm a big fan of Garth Stein and this book didn't disappoint.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Maybe it's unfair to judge an author's very first book after reading a later book he penned that was so phenomenal. It was interesting to learn about the Indian culture and beliefs, but the story just wasn't as interesting as The Art of Racing in the Rain. THAT was a really truly great book!!