cover image Gateway to the Moon

Gateway to the Moon

Mary Morris. Doubleday/Talese, $27.95 (352p) ISBN 978-0-385-54290-6

Morris (The Jazz Palace) revisits five centuries of history in this spirited story of hidden faith set in 1992 and 1492. Amateur astronomer Miguel Torres has lived in Entrada de la Luna, N. Mex., his entire life, but, with few job prospects, he applies for jobs outside the city. Miguel is hired as a live-in babysitter for a Jewish family in Santa Fe, which will allow him to support and continue to practice his astronomy. While working for the Rothsteins, Miguel is brought face to face with the traditions his Hispanic family has always kept but never questioned. Why are the traditions of this Jewish family, he wonders, so similar to his? Morris intersperses the journey of Miguel’s ancestors as they fled the Spanish Inquisition in the 15th century and landed in the New World. Their tale is filled with the horror and betrayal of the Inquisition—including the violence explorers brought to the New World, as told through the journey of Luis de Torres, Miguel’s Jewish ancestor. Chapters alternate between the perspective of Miguel, who gradually learns of his Jewish identity, and his ancestors, who slowly make their way across the Atlantic and the Americas before settling in New Mexico. Morris’s richly detailed story explores the unlikely ways tradition can live on in the face of attempted annihilation. (Apr.)