O's Top 20 Books to Read This Summer
The must-reads that'll take you straight through to Labor Day.
10 of 20
Behind the Moon
City Lights Publishers
In this searing hallucinatory novel set partly in a lunarlike desert, Bell captures a mood of sexual menace, tracing the fates of a teenage girl and her birth mother as they home in on each other. Fleeing the advances of three boys, Julie stumbles into a trippy odyssey among cave paintings, while Marissa, her mother, embarks on her own fever-dream trek toward the daughter she gave up. Best known for his acclaimed Haitian trilogy—All Souls' Rising, Master of the Crossroads and The Stone That the Builder Refused—Bell draws on his own experiences with voodoo possession to re-create his characters' descent into a sinister otherworld. The novel toys with perspective—women shape-shifting into rocks or animals; the same life-or-death scene played repeatedly, with myriad outcomes—in a kind of primal storytelling that crackles with dread and desire.