The young couple sat beneath the ancient oak at the edge of their land. They watched their son playing the family dog, a mutt of such mixed heritage that its ancestry would never be known, and they smiled. Their work was finished, and the mid-afternoon meal in the shade was a well-deserved treat. Leftover pheasant, fresh picked vegetables and homemade brandy made for a perfect lunch that day.
Times had been hard since the end of the war, but they had survived the war, disease and famine, and their fortunes had finally turned around. The crops were growing and there was almost no sign of the blight, only one of the piglets died before it was weaned and spring had come in March instead of May. They were all signs that the world was beginning to shake off the nuclear holocaust, at least in the places that were not radioactive wastelands. Continue reading
"Liz's real problemis living in the dorm. What they call 'the Res." It's not the same as living with family, even hers, which is big by today's standards. You can shut the door on brothers.
All of the other students. Strangers to share a bathroom with. Communal showers are not her idea of fun. Different showers for men and women isn't enough, it's group bathing. Always being too tall made her an easy target. She isn't comfortable being stared at.
It's different when it's your own family. It's a lot harder with roommates, particularly the one who sleeps in the same room as you do. She says a little prayer for being blessed with Amelia as a room mate. Liz knows knows she wouldn't have lasted five minutes with Maggie."
The Random House Dictionary defines inconstant as changable; fickle; variable. Laurel L. Russwurm captures the inconstant nature of the college experience in her book, Inconstant Moon, bringing to life a host of characters that may have been lost in another work, but manage to maintain their own identity throughout the story. The individual problems and successes of the students makes for engaing reading, though it does tend to make the story meander a bit. The chapters are short and usually change perspective each time. The author does some interesting things with style, embracing the text and instant message as a form of conversation in such a way that it seems natural.
Inconstant Moon follows the lives of a number of students who know each other either directly or indirectly through one another. Mid-way through the book their lives are rocked by a rape on campus and the subsequent investigation and their reactions sets the backdrop for the story. Their lives go on though they are forced to deal with their world becoming a bit more dangerous.
The wealth of well rounded characters is one of my favorite aspects of the book, but it also creates the issue that left me most dissatisfied. If this were a movie you would say that it has an ensemble cast since no single character stands out as a lead. It is simply young people living their lives. All of the carefully crafted threads of the story weave in and out, letting us get a good idea about who the characters are, but by the time the story ends almost none of them are tied up and half are left less than fully explored. In fact, the story ends so abruptly that I had to check twice to make sure I had truly reached the end. I wanted more. I wanted some things to happen, but they never did. Perhaps the author is planning on a sequal that will take advantage of all the groundwork played out in this book, or possibly the hanging bits of story are intentional, highlighting the way life really works and how filled with change college life itself can be.
All in all I would recommend this book. The strong points of this book far outway any shortcomings and I hope that there is a follow up. You can find the book for sale on Amazon.com here
If you wish to read more about the author or her work please check out her blog: http://inconstantmoon.russwurm.org/blogs/
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