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{Prime} Children of the MoonAuthor Anthony De Sa –

From Celebrated Author Anthony De Sa Comes A Raw And Compelling Novel Of Love, War And The Heartbreaking Effects Of Memory You Must Listen To My Words You Must Promise To Tell My Story The Way I Have Shared It With You Tanzania,A Maasai Woman Gives Birth To A Child With Albinism The Child Is Seen As A Curse Upon Her Tribe, And So Begins P S Tumultuous Story As P Navigates The World, She Must Claim Her Life In The Face Of Violence And OstracismFurther South, In Portuguese Controlled Mozambique, Ezequiel Struggles For Acceptance Too Adopted By Missionaries, He Is Not Recognized By His Portuguese Father S Community, Or By His Makonde Mother S Tribe When Civil War Erupts, He Must Choose Who To Fight For And Who To Leave BehindP And Zeca Come Together In A Time Of Momentous Change Love Connects These Two Outsiders, Forcing Them To Confront The Shattering Impact Of Colonialism And War Children Of The Moon Is A Stunning And Unforgettable Exploration Of The Love Of Two People At Once Bound And Separated By Forces Beyond Their Control

10 thoughts on “Children of the Moon

  1. says:

    What is it you want from me I ask out loud, and like a match striking its strip, I think I have an answer The recordings and the transcripts I have made of P are an intimate invitation to experience this world through her recollections Unencumbered Raw The question What for comes back at me I flick my cigarette over the balcony, orange ember spinning I don t know how this story will end But I know how it began I press my pencil to paper, write They are called children of the moon.Author Anthony De Sa was raised in Toronto s Portuguese community and is known for his books set within that heritage With Children of the Moon, De Sa takes this a little further afield, focusing mainly on African characters with a Portuguese twist P is a Masai woman with albinism, living out the end of her days, ravaged by cancer, squatting in the officially abandoned Grande Hotel Beira in Mozambique Serafim is a Brazilian journalist who has travelled to Beira in order to get P s story, and Ezequiel is an old man living with dementia and Parkinson s in a Toronto basement apartment, suffering PTSD and hallucinations about his time as a child soldier in Africa first in the charge of guerrilla soldiers and then as an aide to the Commander of the Portuguese forces sent to quell the rebel forces Point of view rotates between these three characters, and eventually, it is revealed how P and Ezequiel were linked in the past As often happens, I m a little uneasy about the suitability of a white Westerner writing African voices, but with this slim book, De Sa gives the reader plenty to think about and the Portuguese aspects make it feel authentic Note I read an ARC and passages quoted may not be in their final forms My mother pushed me out into a warm evening, where I took my first breath I was told this story countless times by Simu I never tired of it The moment I slipped out from my mother I was greeted by the moonlight that crept into the mouth of our mud hut My pale body dragged across my mother s belly and to her breast My skin, white as bone A curse A moon child, the men muttered, before running away Simu remained to soothe the concern in her sister s eyes As an African villager with albinism, P s life was in danger from those who believed that her skin and body parts could be used for charms and medicine After being moved several times for her protection, she ended up at the Grande Hotel in Beira as an adult, where she now lives with thousands of other refugees acting as an unofficial advocate for those around her and getting just enough notoriety to attract the attention of international journalists She has always been careful with how she reveals her life story, and as she knows this will be her last chance to get it right, P is forthcoming with Serafim than she ever has been before Shortly after I checked into the Hotel Tivoli, I dragged a chair and table out onto the fourth floor balcony of my corner room, arranging them so that I could see bits of the ocean to my left and the fragile buildings of this poor city to my right The shouts from shop vendors and street brawls that spilled from bars onto dirt roads, the smell of smoke from outdoor kitchen fires, all reminded me of the favela where I was raised Like Serrinha and surrounding Florian polis, there s nothing beautiful about this city nothing about its architecture inspires me, except at dusk when lights twinkle from apartments or the glow from open storefronts floods the streets, and I think of quieter times. The journalist, Serafim, is a blackout drunk on the run from the fallout over his last big story in which he revealed the existence and location of a previously uncontacted ian tribe He is sincere in his desire to honestly capture P s story, but he seems equally committed to protecting his own reputation I don t deserve to participate in life, not after what I saw and what I did I used to catch myself smiling children playing, piri piri shrimp, All in the Family and I would feel guilty for letting joy creep inside me They give me risperidone, which dulls the noises in my head and lets me drift off to a time and place where everything seems real I keep telling myself that it s better not to look back Nothing good comes from going back Now, I spend part of my day or what is left of the night in my bed or in my chair staring into the dark until my eyes can pierce the thickness to see clearly through it I see people, animals, and objects all around me, though they try to hide in the carpet pattern or in the paintings on the wall I never switch lights on in the basement I like it this way I used to have a dream as a boy not a nightmare, I say Then I realize I am alone Still, I m careful not to speak too loudly or to give too much away You never know who is listening.The chapters from Ezequiel s POV were my favourites abandoned at a Mission as a baby, this child of a white father and black mother was raised by a European pastor and his wife until Mozambique s war of independence came roaring through Going on to do whatever it took to survive, Ezequiel s story was even affecting than P s and as there was nothing very graphic shared about the fates of those with albinism, what Ezequiel s narrative revealed about Mozambique s civil war, guerrilla tactics, and the ugly racism of the Portuguese military was the engaging story Children of the Moon isn t a very long book and there s something very careful and quiet about De Sa s writing Before P speaks, she considers what she ll share before Serafim begins his writing, he carefully assembles notes striking through albino to replace with persons with albinism striking through witch doctors to replace with healers , and this carefulness creates distance between the reader and the narrative However, this is balanced by Ezequiel s uncensored dementia related memories and hallucinations and these sections provide the book with the necessary heart In the Acknowledgments at the back of the book, De Sa thanks the people from Under the Same Sun who educated him about people with albinism, people who brought him to Mozambique s Gorongosa National Park, people who got him access to the hallways of the Grande Hotel Beira, and his uncles and those veterans who shared their stories with him this is obviously a book with extensive factual basis, but it s not a very narrative driven read Yet, this makes the book feel respectful of the material and I m not left with that uneasy feeling of cultural misappropriation I learned some interesting things and was engaged enough with the three characters to want to know how their stories would develop I d give this three and a half stars and am rounding up for Ezequiel.

  2. says:

    Children of the Moon is quiet yet compelling It is also lovely and at the same time fierce and shattering A 4 1 2 star read for me.Some might categorize the book as historical fiction due to its historical subject matter information that was new and interesting to me However, the book felt much like a novel of contemporary fiction The writing was succinct, descriptive and wonderful In addition, it is a story about so many things that are still happening today told from the perspective of 3 different narrators, in past and present timeframes I particularly enjoy books the use of a multi person perspective and different timeframes De Sa uses both methods deftly to create curiosity, suspense, time for reflection and much .Children of the Moon is a love story and a story of war in all its ferocity and inhumanity It is also the story of colonialism and how land and other wealth is expropriated in a violent manner from a country s long term, multigenerational residents despite their attempts to rebel It is set in two African countries Tanzania and Mozambique Tanzania became an independent country in 1964, no longer under foreign rule and Mozambique as well but not until 1975.Mozambique was initially colonized by the Portuguese, who over time took all the resources from the indigenous residents who had lived there hundreds of years, leaving them very little to survive, let alone enough to be able to upgrade themselves to better futures The Front for the Liberation of Mozambique FRELIMO , made up of native rebels, initiated a guerrilla campaign against Portuguese rule in September 1964 This War of Independence continued for 10 years until Mozambique was granted its independence from Portugal in 1975 Much of the story takes place during this time frame and De Sa provides descriptions that take readers into the heart of the conflict I felt the fear and pain of the people living there De Sa shines a bright, focused light on the ruthlessness against humanity during war and takeover for greed A reader will see and viscerally experience evil in human beings.Children of the Moon is also a story about albinism hence the book s title Albinos light skin, fair hair, light eyes and poor eyesight, make them very susceptible to damage by the sun s strong rays so being outside in pale evening light and darkness is their preference In Children of the Moon, I learned how people with albinism were shunned and mistreated There were often homeless, due to people s fears and non acceptance of living nearby or in their midst As a result, albinos often had to find shelter on their own It was impossible for them to assimilate with non albinos as they were so feared and therefore unable to get educated or secure decent jobs to provide for themselves even if they were self taught or taught by other fortunate albinos Dead albinos were coveted however and considered valuable In ignorance and folklore, even a lock of albino hair was appreciated and treasured as a guarantee of good luck Dead bodies were also highly valued and sought after Due to questionable mythology and fake healing, many people believed that albino body parts brought either luck or curses, depending upon how parts were used Dead bodies sold for 75,000 plus.Di Sa did an excellent job of creating atmosphere building much fear during the wars, as tyrants persecuted natives and forced them to do unconscionable things Examples of human depravity and inhumanity were abundant but because De Sa writes in descriptively in a minimalist manner, he is able to capture the feelings and horror in a way that is readable His use of three narrators helps create pauses and needed breaks from the atrocities and time for me to reflect on what I d read.Children of the Moon also provides a good understanding of the stress people endure during a war their suffering from the torture, killings and losses of loved ones as well as their utter hopelessness and helplessness in preventing such evils The impact of post traumatic stress is well illustrated in the dreams and life of one of the narrators and we get a real sense about how memories often get mixed up and the terror remains in our psyches for years and years.An informative and powerful 4 1 2 star read.Research, Acknowledgements and Further ReadingIt is evident in the book that De Sa has done significant research in order to write Children of the Moon much of it in person as he physically visited the area he writes about and has spoken to many people there In a thoughtful Acknowledgement Section, De Sa thanks numerous people, not all have been included here He also provides some links for those interested in learning , and helping with Albinism and also the restoration of a unique area in Mozambique, Africa destroyed by fighting and fires during the 10 year War of Independence for indigenous rather than foreign nationhood.De Sa writes I am indeed grateful to the staff of both the Canadian and Tanzanian branches of Under the Same Sun, an NGO committed to supporting and educating people about albinism in Tanzania A special thanks to Peter Ash, founder and CEO of UTSS, for agreeing to have me shadow him on a visit to Tanzania.To find out , including how you can help people with albinism, please visit He also writes Deep gratitude to Gregory Carr, an American entrepreneur and philanthropist committed to the restoration of Mozambique s Gorongosa National Park a well written and moving 4 1 2 star book worth reading.

  3. says:

    I have read several previous books by De Sa, and found them of mixed quality This powerful novel, however, is excellent.Based mostly in Mozambique and Tanzania, it is a penetrating story of Po, born an albino African, and her troubled life in the face of hunters of body parts cut from people like her, since these are supposed to overcome illness or other afflictions Arranged as interviews with a Brazilian journalist, Po recounts her childhood, how she had eventually to flee into exile from her Tanzanian birthplace, her love affair with Ezequiel an adopted outsider like herself who had been kidnapped by an armed band that burned the church community where he lived, and her work to establish a refuge for other albino Africans in Mozambique.This is an emotionally deep novel, not just because it portrays the grim realities that albino Africans experience in East Africa, but also because it brings alive the conflicted and caring characters within its pages Po becomes than a tragic figure with her intelligence and courage portrayed vividly Ezequiel escapes as a refugee to Toronto but in so many ways can never leave behind his tormented past the Brazilian journalist also has his challenges as he tries to convey Po s situation yet does not entirely win her trust.I enjoyed this book immensely It captures realities of Tanzania and Mozambique that I have seen But at the same time it shows characters grappling bravely with their pasts and trying to build their futures without letting despair overwhelm them.De Sa writes very well, better than I remember in his past books But what stands out most is his sensitivity and sympathy for his characters A very fine novel highlighting major social concerns and conveying people confronting these with courage and resilience.

  4. says:

    They asked if I had any questions but they didn t answer them 21 The children of the moon are the Africans with albinism who suffer rather than one might imagine for their genetic heritage This novel grew out of author interviews with people on location, the People with albinism, the people fighting for their right to decent and safe accomodation and the veterans and civilian survivors of the local wars Darting between time and space, weaving story within story, not in an elegant tapestry but a shroud, AdS gives us a stripped down version of the hell that was Tanzania and Mozambique in the mid fifties In his deceptively mild and melodious prose he brings together the fragments of 3 lives overburdened by their past Distance is simply measured, but timetime grabs ahold of your throat and doesn t let go p226People are left with nothing except promises 110

  5. says:

    Hauntingly beautiful may be a clich , but in this case is true Desperate life circumstances circumscribed by and injected with love.The author has a way of getting inside the characters, that makes the reader feel like we are them.

  6. says:

    I ve read all of De Sa s books and I have to say that this one definitely evoked a lot of emotion At times I did feel like the book was a little tricky to follow with the multiple timelines and streams of consciousness However, the subject matter was enticing, the characters felt real some of them shockingly so I too had uncles who served in the wars for independence Some of the things that people have done to each other, what we continue to do, all in the name of war, justice, Liberty Sad and disgusting I think the story did a fantastic job of communicating feeling and the harsh realities of a life so far from my own At times, I wanted to hug the characters and thank them for their pain and sacrifice In short life is full of suffering, but also beauty and love We are victims of circumstance, but always remember that there exist those willing to help ease the burden.

  7. says:

    Children of the Moon is a compassionate exploration of the horrors of war and the vagaries of memory Told with restraint, DeSa brings together three perspectives three vantage points to explore the impact of colonialism, racism, love and war The novel asks some pretty big questions What is truth Is truth absolute What is the value of a life Who gets to tell the story This story, while seemingly very different from his earlier work, still mines the Portuguese experience, and still fundamentally addresses our shared human experience and explores how we build community Po is a person with albinism Zeca is a former child soldier suffering from dementia Serafim is a journalist trying to repent for the unintended consequences of a prior article Together, through each of their narrative threads, we get a glimpse into the reality of the post colonial experience in Mozambique and Tanzania.The novel is also about memory The vagaries of memory The ways in which memories wash over us, and haunt us The way that memory is, and is not, selective The memories we hold to ourselves The memories we choose to share with others The structure of the novel mirrors the content of the novel Nothing is linear or chronological Time if fluid, moving back and forth, as memories arise This makes for a sometimes disjointed reading experience, but, it is true to the way the mind and memory work.While the novel addresses some pretty heavy content, it s actually a fairly quick and easy read that leaves you with lots to think about.

  8. says:

    This is the first book written by Anthony De Sa that I read The story evoked a lot of emotions within me The story was enticing and touching Being a resident of Tanzania, I was aware of the intensity of the horrific beliefs that individuals harbored about Albinism and how people suffering from Albinism were targeted and preyed on Traditional healers departed wrong beliefs and ideologies that organs from Albinos could be used to gain power and wealth creating widespread terror and chaos At some points, I felt that the story was somewhat difficult to follow considering the multiple timelines presented in the book Nonetheless, the subject matter was enticing, captivating and fascinating I was thoroughly touched by the story which took place close to my hometown An engaging and gripping story.

  9. says:

    Occasionally hard to follow plot, with multiple people, timelines, etc, but a great book that definitely stirs up some emotions

  10. says:

    Heartbreaking story of Maasai woman born an albino and children of war in Mozambique.