cover image Billy Moon

Billy Moon

Douglas Lain. Tor, $24.99 (272p) ISBN 978-0-7653-2172-5

What would it be like to be the real-life Christopher Robin? This fascinating question is movingly explored in Lain’s imaginative debut novel. In 1959, Christopher is 38 years old and operating a small bookstore that pointedly doesn’t stock the Winnie-the-Pooh books. But that choice isn’t a shield against their influence, as he finds himself, unconsciously, playing with a piece of garbage in a way that echoes Eeyore’s playing with a burst balloon. Things get surreal when, in 1961, Christopher spots a poster that uses Pooh’s image as a symbol of protest against the French authorities; dated seven years in the future, the poster is an anomaly that proves prescient. The narrative is laced with humor. One chapter begins, “While Christopher was coping with toy cats, Munchies wrappers, and Kinsey’s report on sexual behavior in the human male, a 10-year-old boy in Paris... decided that he was dreaming, during a field trip to the police station.” But the overwhelming poignancy, as Christopher prays to be allowed to “finally be an adult,” is what gives this book its power. Agent: Kristopher O’Niggins, Scribe Agency. (Aug.)