cover image The Moon Stops Here

The Moon Stops Here

James Gordon Bennett, Author Doubleday Books $21 (356p) ISBN 978-0-385-47095-7

In 1969, 14-year-old Teddy, his rebellious older sister Cora and their mother Rosemary leave Massachusetts for San Francisco in this offbeat, affecting road novel by the author of My Father's Geisha . Their goal: to rejoin Teddy and Cora's soldier father in Taiwan. Teddy, the vulnerable narrator, must cope not only with his own epileptic fits, but also with his mouthy sister and their pregnant cousin Bobbie, who has joined them, having left her shoe-salesman husband. Teddy's obsessive ruminations about Matthew Henson, the black Arctic explorer who became Robert Peary's trusted assistant on North Pole expeditions, reflect the boy's hunger for his absentee father. Having spent his childhood on Army bases around the world, Bennett has keen insight into the itinerant lives of ``Army brats,'' who worship from afar the fathers they rarely see. If the ending is anticlimactic, the journey itself combines colorful characters and scenic locales like Charles Lindbergh's estate, Graceland and the Alamo as it charts the travails of a family struggling to stay together. (Jan.)