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The New Moon's Arms.

The New Moon's Arms By Nalo Hopkinson Warner Books, February 2007 $23.95, ISBN 0-466-57691-8

Myth, mystery and, yes, menopause form a supernatural, life-affirming combination that have people literally walking out of the water in this Caribbean odyssey.

Calamity Lambkin is juggling her lover, her daughter Ifoema's frustration, and her deep-seeded anger towards Michael, her gay, grade-school sweetheart who is the father of her child--and she is up to her neck in resentment. Everything changes when the boy she names "Agway" washes up on the beach while she is giving herself a pity party. Immediately, as she takes to him, and once at the hospital, she reluctantly enlists the help of her uppity old high-school nemesis Dr. Evelyn Chow, who bends the rules to give Calamity temporary custody of Agway. The physiology of the oddly shaped Sea boy is scientifically noted by Chow, as she and Calamity embark upon a secret that slowly unravels as she examines him: "Well that's the odd thing. Normally you would get those parasites from eating undercooked fish," says Dr. Chow.

From the beginning, Calamity takes charge of the boy's well-being; not to mention Calamity's newfound introduction to "the change" has her out-of-sorts--her hot flashes have the magic to reclaim lost things of sentiment. Nonetheless, her mouth and sharp tongue continue to provide for a long road towards redemption. Her association with those closest to her are stripped to their essence, as old grudges are confronted and truths revealed.

Neatly intertwined against this drama are flashbacks of Calamity's first contact with the ethereal Sea people. Snapshots of the their origins are revealed in parable long before their likeness is captured by law enforcement and presented in the media for the community to speculate. Ironically, it is the motherly instinct that Calamity seems to have suppressed for so long, which softens her heart towards the baby Agway's true predicament. "He wasn't lost! I'd found him!" she says. In letting go, Calamity finds what was always in front of her even after her father's funeral--family.

Once again, Hopkinson weaves a wonderful tale, one rich in fantastical storytelling.

Ahmad Wright is a freelance writer for the Los Angeles Times Book Review.
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No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 2007, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Author:Wright, Ahmad
Publication:Black Issues Book Review
Article Type:Book review
Date:Mar 1, 2007
Words:363
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