A lush and haunting first novel, Moon Tide follows the lives of three women in a small fishing town on the Massachusetts coast, from 1913 to the Great New England Hurricane of 1938.
Through sensual and interwoven stories, Moon Tide explores the secret workings of the heart—the violence of desire and memory, the redemptive power of longing—matched against society’s rules of class and the unpredictable tempers of the natural world.
At the center of the novel is Eve, who takes refuge in silence and art after the death of her mother. Eve can sense how the past nips at the heels of the living, and her ethereal beauty inspires a quiet passion in Jake, the son of a local stonemason. For Elizabeth, Eve’s wealthy, eccentric grandmother, one summer at Westport Point extends into a lifetime. She stays on in the town year-round, building a great library in her house for the cold New England winters, haunted by the Ireland of her youth and by one man’s doomed obsession with nature. And then there is Maggie, the exotic stranger with a peculiar clairvoyance. Maggie lives in the precarious space between the locals and the rich—a balance that is ultimately compromised by Wes, a ruthless rum-smuggler, whose desire for her triggers small cruelties and then a staggering act of violence.
With lyrical prose, wisdom, and insight, Dawn Clifton Tripp maps the shifting tensions in a small town on the verge of change. Like the growing weight of a storm, the lives in Westport Point build in emotional momentum even as the Great Hur-ricane approaches, and the landscape of the earth comes to reflect the geography of the mind. A novel of love and loss, survival and revelation, Moon Tide is an extraordinary debut.
Praise & Reviews
“A shimmering work, an audacious debut; a gem.” –Edna O’Brien
“Meticulously observed . . . A rich, tumultuous wave of natural lore and dailiness, love, loss, and revenge, all rendered by a young writer of impressive talent and heart.” —The Providence Journal
“A smooth, sorrowful beauty of a first novel.” —Elle
“A beautifully written first novel…Tripp is an unusual stylist who filters all of her characters’ perceptions and emotions through their connection to the land. Haunting, ethereal, and often brutal, her novel achieves the resonance of myth.” –Booklist
“The writing in this exquisitely wrought debut novel is at times so metaphorical that it in effect grants the reader an ‘outside of syntax’ experience, pushing past words to create a wash of impressions…The book reads with a sealike syntactical cadence, and Tripp shoots it through with visual richness and detail…her themes blend and meld: social class and place, the effects of change, the power of words, the frailty of humans against natural life forces, the effects of memory and love…Tripp presents with clear strength in language and literary tradition. –The Denver Post
“Sensual and visceral, impressively researched and often hypnotic…Tripp is adept at illuminating how age shreds the fabric of both memory and consciousness. She writes wonderfully of the characters’ dawning awareness of the storm’s magnitude. In Tripp’s hands the storm becomes a complex piece of music that builds note by note, swelling to its deadly crescendo.” —The Boston Globe
“The characters are vividly drawn but the real star of this novel is the setting, which is described with such great feeling that the fierceness of the sea, the solitude of the village, and the volatility of the climate seem to surround the reader on every page. Tripp is a young writer, blessed with the descriptive powers of a mature poet and writes of the breakers and tides and crested swells as though she had spent a lifetime at sea.” – Baltimore Sun
“Unforgettable…brilliant characterizations, shimmer descriptions, a gripping climax, Tripp’s poetic narrative will remind some of Michael Ondaatje and others of Barry Lopez, but she’s an original.”– Library Journal
“A dream of a book—hypnotic, poetic, transporting the reader through time and space.”—The Charlotte Observer
“Moon Tide is a haunting meditation—reminiscent of Louise Erdrich—on family, place, love, mourning, and memory. . . . So lovely and brutal, it feels like a dream.”—Haven Kimmel