Berit Ellingsen's Now We Can See the Moon was published by Snuggly Books in May 2018.
Information about Berit Ellingsen:
Berit Ellingsen’s novel Not Dark Yet was published by Two Dollar Radio in November 2015. She is the author of the short story collections Beneath the Liquid Skin and Vessel & Solsvart, and the novel Une Ville Vide (PublieMonde). Her work has appeared in W.W. Norton’s Flash Fiction International, SmokeLong Quarterly, Unstuck, Litro, Up Here - The North at the Center of the World, and other places, and been nominated for the Pushcart Prize, Best of the Net, and the British Science Fiction Award. Berit divides her time between Norway and Svalbard in the Arctic.
Click here to visit her official website.
Information about Now We Can See the Moon:
A coastline razed and inundated by a hurricane. A traveler journeying towards the flood instead of away from it. A team of rescue workers without anyone to rescue, but who for various reasons can’t leave the drowned city. It has been said that those who live by the sword shall die by the sword, but what about those whose job it is to save others? When the storehouse and everything in it has burned down, will we finally be able to see the moon?
REVIEW: NOW WE CAN SEE THE MOON BY BERIT ELLINGSEN
Berit Ellingsen's Now We Can See the Moon is one of the best novels I've ever had the pleasure of reading, because it's a harrowing account of one man's journey through a devastated landscape. It's filled with beautiful and haunting prose that leaves a lasting impression on its readers.
Now We Can See the Moon is a sequel to Not Dark Yet (2015), but can be read as a standalone novel. You don't necessarily have to know anything about the previous novel in order to understand and enjoy this novel, because the story immediately pulls you in and doesn't let go until you've reached the end.
I'm not exactly sure how to properly classify this novel due to its contents, but in my opinion, this novel is literary speculative fiction, because it depicts the events following a catastrophic hurricane that is connected to climate change and its effects on the global weather. I think that readers who love literary speculative fiction will immensely enjoy this novel, because it's something different and has many thought-provoking scenes.
This novel is in equal measure disquieting and harrowing, and its contents will linger on the readers' minds for a long time after the final page has been read. It's a well written tale of what happens to humans when they are faced with a massive natural disaster that leaves their lives shattered by its force (it's an intimate exploration of such themes and issues as personal feelings, longing for one's loved ones, change and loss).
Here's a bit of information about the story:
Brandon Minamoto has taken refuge in a cabin in the mountains while a hurricane has sowed destruction and utterly devastated his hometown. He wants to find out what has happened to his family, his brother Katsuhiro and his boyfriend Michael, so he sets out on a journey towards the town with a few belongings. During his journey, he witnesses death and destruction everywhere. One day he comes across a team of rescue workers led by Leah and her second-in-command, Raymond, and helps them...
The characterisation in this novel is fascinatingly realistic. The characters come alive in the story and feel achingly real. I like the author's way of being able to effortlessly convey the deeds and feelings of the characters to her readers. Her nuanced characterisation is beautiful.
Brandon is a well-created and fascinating protagonist. He's gay and he has a boyfriend, Michael. He used to work in the military. Leah and her team are also interesting characters, because each of the team members have their own expertise. The author writes well about Michael and the team members and how they interact with each other.
The author's vision of the hurricane is stunningly effective, because she describes how much chaos and destruction it causes. The unprecedented size and power of the hurricane is something to behold, because it destroys everything that gets in its way. The almost apocalyptic landscape is memorable in its bleakness, because nothing is the same after the hurricane: broken structures are everywhere and bodies can be found in the cars and other places.
I think that the author has done a lot research before writing this novel, because many things feel believable and realistic. What the rescue workers do and how they set up their operation is convincing, because the author writes about how the team helps the survivors and tries to identify the corpses. Brandon's journey also feels believable, because he carefully moves around the broken landscape.
This novel has a strong theme of survival, but it also tells of longing for one's loved ones and what it feels like when you don't know what has happened to those you love and care about. It also explores what can happen to members of a rescue team.
This novel has many excellent scenes, but the chapter about the museum of art history is one of my favourites. It made a huge impression on me. I was especially impressed by the final sentence, because it was touching.
Berit Ellingsen writes excellent prose. I like her writing style, because she has a gift for writing immersive prose and creating realistic characters. I especially like her way of evoking powerful and unsettling images in the reader's minds with her words and sentences. She has an almost uncanny ability to breathe life and meaning into the happenings and she pays attention to several meaningful details that deepen and enhance the disquieting atmosphere. What makes her prose especially intriguing is that she maintains a perfect balance between nuanced storytelling and accurate descriptions about the rescue work.
When I began to read this novel, I found the melancholy and somber atmosphere slowly seeping into me. I was wholly captivated by what I was reading, because the story was enthralling in a strangely beautiful and unsettling way. It was fascinating to read about what kind of an effect the happenings had on the characters and their state of mind.
Berit Ellingsen's Now We Can See the Moon will fascinate everyone who loves intimate and beautifully written stories. If you enjoy reading literary speculative fiction or literary fiction, you can't afford to miss this harrowing masterpiece, because it's something different and deeply captivating.