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Gateway to the Moon: A Novel (Hardcover)
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"If you haven’t read Mary Morris yet, start here. Now. Immediately."
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
From award-winning novelist Mary Morris comes the remarkable story of a remote New Mexican town coming to grips with a dark history it never imagined.
In 1492, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Spain were expelled, and Columbus set sail for America. Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, accompanies Columbus as his interpreter. His journey is only the beginning of a long migration, across many generations. Over the centuries, de Torres’ descendants travel from Spain and Portugal to Mexico, finally settling in the hills of New Mexico. Five hundred years later, it is in these same hills that Miguel Torres, a young amateur astronomer, finds himself trying to understand the mystery that surrounds him and the town he grew up in.
Entrada de la Luna is a place that holds a profound secret--one that its residents cannot even imagine. It is also a place that ambitious children, such as Miguel, try to leave. Poor health, broken marriages, and poverty are the norm. Luck is unusual. When Miguel sees a flyer for a babysitting job, he jumps at the opportunity, and begins work for a Jewish family new to the area. Rachel Rothstein is not the sort of parent Miguel expected. A frustrated artist, Rachel moved her family from New York in search of a fresh start, but so far New Mexico has not solved any of the problems she brought with her. Miguel loves the work, yet he is surprised to find many of the Rothstein family's customs similar to ones he’s grown up with and never understood.
Interwoven throughout the present-day narrative are the powerful stories of the ancestors of Entrada's residents, highlighting the torture, pursuit, and resistance of the Jewish people. A beautiful novel of shared history, Gateway to the Moon is a moving and memorable portrait of a family and its journey through the centuries.
About the Author
MARY MORRIS is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the novels The Jazz Palace, A Mother's Love, and House Arrest, and of nonfiction, including the travel memoir classic Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize in literature and the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Fiction. Morris lives in Brooklyn, New York.
"I have been spoiled by Mary Morris’s writing--her rich storytelling woven with poetry--for years, but this latest novel brings me to a whole new level of awe. Gateway to the Moon is a story about exploration--between the past and the present, between faith and truth, between the heavens and the earth. If you haven’t read Mary Morris yet, start here. Now. Immediately."
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
"Written in prose like music, with stories connecting like fugues, Morris follows her characters through time, through space, and through horrors and toward love. From Columbus to the Spanish Inquisition to modern day New Mexico and the Voyager spacecraft, this is a work so luminous, so important, that you could see it as a map of the way to live in our universe. A writer is not supposed to be at a loss for words, but nothing can describe the extraordinary experience of this novel. A dazzling masterpiece destined to be a classic."
--Caroline Leavitt, New York Times bestselling author of Is This Tomorrow
"Engrossing, richly textured, and spanning centuries with deftness and ease, Gateway to the Moon is Mary Morris’s most ambitious and best novel yet. It’s thrilling to watch as such a well-established novelist sets forth like an explorer into new territory and makes it all her own."
--Dani Shapiro, bestselling author of Hourglass
"Mary Morris, braids a vivid and surprising narrative, bringing together little-known history with little-known landscapes to produce a fascinating story of immigration, faith and family. Brava."
--Roxana Robinson, author of Sparta
"It’s a great joy when a novel so rich in history is also a total page-turner. Gateway to the Moon connects and illuminates, as we see the centuries-long trail of those who survived the Spanish Inquisition through disguise and adaptation. A wonderful book, remarkable in its knowledge and a terrific story."
--Joan Silber, author of Improvement and Fools
"This exquisitely written novel suggests both the vastness and the intimacy of time--the ways in which the lives of the past echo in the lives of the living, whether we know it or not. A richly rewarding reading experience!"
--Dan Chaon, author of Ill Will
"A sweeping generational tale that stretches from the Spanish Inquisition to modern-day New Mexico, beginning with Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew who accompanies Columbus as his interpreter."
--New York Post
"Morris is a gifted storyteller, and this vivid novel is a real page turner. She deftly glides back and forth between a wide range of time periods and locales… she could be a poet, her writing is so richly textured and lyrical."
"In Gateway to the Moon, Mary Morris unites themes of identity, family, history and astronomy . . . dramatically and magically braided over 500 years . . . A rewarding read."
"[An] enthralling saga . . . The story glides effortlessly between viewpoints and vibrant settings ranging from Lisbon to Tangiers, the Caribbean, and Mexico City. With prose as clear as the star-strewn night sky, Morris’ novel explores people’s hidden connections."
--Booklist, starred review
"Morris writes with a relaxed eloquence, shifting easily through characters. Gateway to the Moon is an entertaining, thoughtful read that raises a relevant question: Appearances aside, just how different are we?"
"Gateway to the Moon connects modern lives to distant ancestors, seamlessly navigating between centuries while addressing universal questions about our need to connect to our past while moving to the future. This novel reaches beyond history; it explores the humanity infused into everyday life, whether in 1492 or 1992."
"Morris’s taut, sculpted sentences make a stately music, weaving a beautiful and heartbreaking history that balances the worst of human cruelties, from poverty and violence to betrayal and neglect, with the sweetest human longings for meaning, for connection, and to uncover the mysteries that make us who we are."
--Historical Novels Review
"Gateway to the Moon shepherds the reader through a cosmos of human connection, where the unknown becomes knowable in ways that simultaneously cause pain and offer comfort. Mary Morris serves up ample portions of both in this wise and thought-provoking novel, which moves seamlessly from the 15th century to the 20th century and back again. By doing so, she reminds us that knowledge is a question, and that consequences are not the same as answers."
--Carol Zoref, author of Barren Island, Longlisted for National Book Award in Fiction, Winner of AWP Award for the Novel
"A major narrative feat that sheds light on little-known aspects of the history of European Sephardic Jews and their flight from the Inquisition to the New World. Tracing a 500-year arc, from the streets of Lisbon and Seville to present-day New Mexico, this carefully researched novel is Mary Morris’s crowning achievement."
--Eduardo Lago, author of Call Me Brooklyn