I can describe book number 5 in my challenge as a happy accident. I went to Half Price with the intensions of finding a book for my friend. Instead, I left the store with a book in hand intended for me, and absolutely nothing for my friend. It was the first book I saw on the first shelf I looked through. I read only the description, and was immediately sold on whatever adventure awaited me in the pages.
A Bright Moon for Fools is Jasper Gibson’s debut novel. It’s a humorous read that pulls strings of emotions. One page will have me laughing the next will leave me agitated another will have me heartbroken.
A Bright Moon for Fools tells the story of Harry Christmas, a drunken cynical unlikeable man – think Ignatius J. Reilly – who runs away to Caracas, Venezula with stolen money and a broken heart. He runs to Caracas to escape his problems, to escape his past, to escape The Rot; but everything finds its way back to him in some form.
Gibson’s novel tries to tackle some dark serious themes in a light manner that had me doing some self-reflecting; themes of alcohol addiction, the question if our choices matter to the final outcome, and themes of abuse to oneself and others.
The novel reminds us no matter how far you travel, whether it’s from England to South America, you can never truly escape who you are or the things you have done. For example, William Slade, the stepson of a former ex-lover whom Christmas stole money from, makes it his mission to assassinate Christmas to bring honor to his stepmom. Then there is Judith, a romantic English women Christmas meets at a coffee shop. Her naiveness seduces Christmas to lie and steal again, which got him in this situation in the first place. All while the memories of his dead ex-wife, Emily, haunt him.
At the end of the novel, you’ll become a inner-moral judge, asking yourself what is right and what is wrong; how can one action be justified and the other can’t. Christmas and Slade, the two main male characters, both use women for their personal gain. Where Christmas spiritually abuses a women with lies and false intentions, Slade physically abuses them, taking advantage of their bodies. Gibson writes Christmas as the lesser of two evils, allowing you to cheer for him even tho you know what he does is wrong. It make Christmas more tolerable that way.
A Bright Moon for Fools is not for everybody. If you enjoy dark humor then you’ll enjoy A Bright Moon for Fools. There is a moment where an innocent character is defiled and from that moment on the laughing will stop, a somber cloud will linger, and the beauty of Venezuela gets a little gray. Yet, despite all that, you will keep turning the pages just to see if everyone turns out alright in the end.