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The New Moon's Arms

3.86  ·  Rating details ·  598 Ratings  ·  107 Reviews
First it's her mother's missing gold brooch. Then, a blue and white dish she hasn't seen in years. Followed by an entire grove of cashew trees.

When objects begin appearing out of nowhere, Calamity knows that the special gift she has not felt since childhood has returned-her ability to find lost things. Calamity, a woman as contrary as the tides around her Caribbean islan
ebook, 0 pages
Published February 23rd 2007 by Grand Central Publishing (first published January 1st 2007)
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Ben Babcock
Nalo Hopkinson is not Margaret Atwood.

This may seem like a strange and perhaps obvious epiphany to have. Indeed, some of you might be advanced enough not to need to read an entire book before arriving at it. Some of you might be even further advanced (say, doctorate in philosophy) and question the veracity of this proposition. So allow me to explain what I mean, and you philosophers can decide for yourself.

I should explain that there are things about Nalo Hopkinson, or specifically about The New
K.J. Charles
An extraordinary read. More magic realist than fantasy, with the inexplicable happenings woven into the fabric of life. Gorgeously written. Calamity, our narrator, is a profoundly flawed character, causing a lot of pain and damage (particularly in her homophobia and biphobia, which are really hard moments to witness), yet we still root for her to stop being her own worst enemy (and a dick). This is very much a redemption story, one of sea change and escaping shackles--in Calamity's case, of bitt ...more
Wilhelmina Jenkins
In her usual unique style, Nalo Hopkinson takes the often-told folk belief that humans and seals are related, and creates a great story. I loved her protagonist Calamity (formerly Chastity) who, instead of experiencing menopause in the usual manner, discovers that she has regained her prepubescent power as a finder of lost things. When she finds a child wrapped in seaweed, she is drawn into a world she briefly experienced as a child. Calamity is far from perfect - she is hostile to gay people be ...more
Mar 02, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The New Moon's Arms is a perfect summer read. Set in the Caribbean, it is light splashy and fun and makes you feel like hanging out on the beach while reading it. Yet at the same time it is deep and touches on a number of issues. Parts are humorous, other parts very sad. Calamity, the leading character, experiences many life changing events at once; her father, who she has taken care of for years, dies, she starts menopause and every time she has a hot flash something she lost years ago appears ...more
Aug 30, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone
As a child, Chastity Lambkin could “find” almost anything; a mislaid book, lost change, missing keys – all she had to do was concentrate on the item and wait for the last two fingers of her left hand to tingle.
The day Chastity’s mother’s empty rowboat drifted ashore, Chastity stopped finding things forever. She dared not find the thing she missed most, so she couldn’t find anything at all.
Years later, 52-year old Chastity (now called “Calamity”) rediscovers her long-gone talent in the unlikeli
Genevieve Williams
Engaging and breezily quick read, the first I've read by Hopkinson and won't be the last. She has a smooth, liquid style that works really well with the story she's telling, and the character of Calamity--who is difficult and knows it--is fun to watch, though she probably wouldn't be all that much fun to actually live with. Indeed, most of the people around her, including her daughter, seem to find her a trial, and Calamity's own resistant and irresolute attitude to the inevitability of age begi ...more
Blake Charlton
Jun 03, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
an masterfully realized narrative, expertly producing a vivid sense of character and place. calamity seems at once unique, with her full-force charm and flair up character flaws. and yet there is something slightly archetypal about her--nothing so strong as to raise the specter of 'stock character,' but surrounded by images and concerns of fertility or lack their of, one gets the sense of having met her before...most likely in a local grocery store, but maybe in a particular culture's mythology, ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Obligatory SJW alphabet soup notice: this book is by a QWOC and stars older WOC and QMOC. It is set in the Caribbean. Hooray.

This was a fun listen, although I had reservations at the beginning when the opening scene was the protagonist's father's funeral. Almost immediately, though, one learns that this isn't a sit around and cry kind of book. Our protagonist, originally named Chastity, renamed herself Calamity and intends to carry on that way. Indeed, things are getting increasingly calamitous
Jenny (Reading Envy)
I picked this from my bookshelves (one of the many to-read) to take on a trip to the Bahamas, and ended up reading most of it on the ship. The premise is interesting - a woman's father dies and as she mourns and hits menopause, her old "finding" abilities start coming back. Items from her childhood start reappearing (often dropping from the sky, but also an entire cashew orchard) and then a little boy washes up on shore.

I liked the setting although the island, Dolorosse, is imagined. The langua
I love the way Nalo Hopkinson writes complex and imperfect characters. As in many of her books, Hopkinson focuses on the fraught relationships between headstrong women: independent daughters, and sharp tongued mothers. The strong bond of love that exists even as too quick insults fray its edges. The main character is a woman in her 50s who was born Chastity and renamed herself the much more fitting Calamity. Because she's certainly not interested in being chaste and tends to let her mouth get he ...more
Apr 05, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
(listened on audio book. the reader was Gin Hammond, and she was amazing!)

the book has a great tone and a generous sprinkling of several everyday/modern issues of caribbean life, along with neat layers of mythological history and faerie-type magic. i actually liked that the main character is infuriatingly self-centered. that, at 53, she's still figuring out how to be a grown-up.

i struggled with the flow of the plot.. i found all the sudden offers of help and folks showing back up in her life ki
Jul 26, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf
A clever, brave and deftly crafted book, witty as well as humorous, equally magical and realistic, and every word ringing true to boot. I feel like it should have been a five-star book, pinging as it does, so many of my fictional bells: rounded protagonist and characters of colour! Middle-aged feisty but certainly imperfect female lead! Non-Western mythologies! Juicy themes of family/friendship, changes and chances! but it inexplicably fell short of the all-out love I should've felt. Maybe the w ...more
Sam Benson
This was a quick, light read. Lovely prose, with many excellent characters. Really enjoyed Calamity, the wonderfully likable, if undeniably flawed protagonist who despite her wisdom is learning all sorts of new, mysterious things -- the onset of menopause, a re-discovery of her magical power to "find" things, new perspectives on her deceased or absent parents, introductions to new people who force her to rethink long-ingrained prejudices, reclamation of maternal feelings, the revival of her beli ...more
I wish I could have liked this. The story had potential. I always hate using that word, because I certainly am no expert. I just know what I like and I feel I could have liked this story but it didn't seem to go anywhere.

My biggest problem with this book was the writing. It read like a log. There was a lot of, this happened, then we went here, and there we saw that, yada, yada, yada. The characters were like stick figures going through motions. I didn't feel connected to any of them and I didn'
I enjoyed The New Moon's Arms very much, it's a friendly book with an atypical (and welcome) protagonist. She's likable, but difficult and flawed - one of those flaws is that she likes herself rather too much. Hopkinson is great at creating characters, and I'm happy I've finally read some of her work.

However, I don't think the book ever came together. It felt a bit uncooked, and the mythology and minor strands of the story were never as incorporated as they should have been.
Nov 14, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful book, with a wonderful strong, human, vibrant woman lead character. Takes place on a fictional Caribbean island, and gives you a real feel for the lives of the people who live there. A contemporary setting that blends love,mother/daughter relationships, and other complex emotions with magical realism,
Joell Smith-Borne
Aug 24, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sf-f
I picked this one up because Hopkinson was going to be at WisCon and I wanted a book I could get signed. This one is about a women at the front edge of menopause--something I can relate to, unfortunately. Great story about finding lost things, though.
It was really exciting to read a book written in the kind of language I was born in to. While I have long ago lost my Jamaican accent, it all came back in reading this.

Unfortunately, the story of mysterious children etc etc did little to appeal to me.
Catherine Schaff-Stump
Feb 19, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
That's what I want to write like when I grow up.
May 19, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
This story follows a cranky and 'hot mouthed' older woman who finds her finding ability returning after her father dies and she enters menopause. One of the things she finds is a small boy, half-drowned on the beach, and he points to a whole raft of secrets that may or may not be connected to her family.

I really struggled to star this one. Considering my wobble between 3 and 4, it's probably a 3.75? So I'll grant it the four. Some things didn't quite work for me, but enough of it did that I don
Oct 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed this book, for the most part; let me just say: Nalo Hopkinson really has a knack for writing witty, flavorful dialogue. Having read a fair bit of her catalogue, I definitely think that's my favorite aspect of her style, & this novel surely puts it to work (especially when it comes to the foul-mouthed protagonist).

& speaking of the foul-mouthed protagonist: I happened to peek a little glance at the study-guide-section at the back of the book & catch a big, strong whiff of "i
Aug 09, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating story. The main character is a 53-year-old woman on a Caribbean island. It opens with a mishap at her father's funeral-- one that is hilarious because it doesn't happen to Calamity, the heroine. She is a mess-- eccentric, funny, kind at heart, but hot tempered. An interesting character. Her grown daughter, her neighbors, the man she meets at the funeral, are all characters in the story about the boy she finds on beach after a bed storm. And like all good stories, it's also about othe ...more
Elise Traversa
I loved the first part of "The New Moon's Arms". I hadn't read a book set in the Caribbean in ages, the writing was exquisite, and the characters dynamic. Then I realized that the story just didn't make sense, and while the characters were dynamic, Calamity is inherently unlikable. Indeed, her fights with others sets the stage for most of the book. After I finished, I felt like none of the questions in the book had actually been answered- I'm not sure if I missed some subtleties, but I really sc ...more
Joyce Reynolds-Ward
A lovely and down-to-earth fantasy that is reminiscent of magical realism. Gentle but at the same time throws a lot of heavy things to contemplate about imperfect people changing how they think. The protagonist Calamity shows us that menopause can be a powerful transition and--it's not too late to change perspective.
Cameron Mcconnell
Dec 10, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very interesting and beautifully written tale of an Island woman's discovery of a child on the beach the night after her father's funeral. Her voyage of self discovery and the history and lore of local mer-people is well told.
Not my favorite Nalo Hopkinson book, but not my least favorite either. Similar in theme to Margo Lanagan's The Brides of Rollrock Island, but with a very different cultural milieu. The ending leaves some questions unanswered, and I'm not sure that's a bad thing.
May 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A little slow to start but once in I really wanted to find out the whole story and follow the progression of the characters.
Lillie Stoute
Aug 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Amazing, interesting and imaginative .

I love the way that the story leads you in to a real world but also to an alternative world of the people of the sea, beautifully mixed.
Larry R
Mar 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very charming. I enjoyed it, perhaps more so since I am near the age of the main character. I think it conveyed very well the strength, insecurities and perspectives of a person in middle age. I found the magic part of the book added to it and was well thought out. It was a book I dropped other things to read and was engaging.

Once again, Nalo Hopkinson breathes fresh life into a genre that too often centers the stories of the young, the idealistic, the mainstream. The New Moon’s Arms tells the story of the old, the ancient, those pushed to the edges and forgotten by time. After a life spent running from her own past identity, then spending two years nursing her father through his fatal battle with cancer, Calamity (AKA Chastity) Lambkin hopes to be able to move on with her life. An anonymous fling with a chance-met f

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Nalo Hopkinson is a Jamaican-born writer and editor who lives in Canada. Her science fiction and fantasy novels and short stories often draw on Caribbean history and language, and its traditions of oral and written storytelling.

More about Nalo Hopkinson...