Barbara Croft Moon's Crossing: A Novel

ISBN 13: 9780618341535

Moon's Crossing: A Novel

2.71 avg rating
( 31 ratings by Goodreads )
 
9780618341535: Moon's Crossing: A Novel
View all copies of this ISBN edition:
 
 

A stunning, cinematic debut novel set at the 1893 Chicago World's Fair, Moon's Crossing explores a unique time in American history, when the romantic heritage of the nineteenth century merged with the industrial temperament of the modern age.
Jim Moon, an idealistic Union Army veteran, leaves his young wife and son to visit the World's Columbian Exposition, which has attracted America's greatest artists and thinkers as well as its drifters and schemers. Nick, a fast-talking con man, takes Moon to Pullman Town, a model city south of Chicago that is the site of the complex labor strike of 1894. Moon comes to see that the bright future the fair promised is compromised by greed. Unable to recapture his early vision of America, he takes his own life, and in so doing generates a surprising love story between a common young woman and a corrupt policeman as well as a major upheaval in the life of his neglected son.
Kaleidoscopic and fast-paced, Moon's Crossing draws on such sources as the traditional tall tale to present a unique narrative style. Moon's adventures are completely American, and the legacy he leaves is, ironically, more significant than his failed life would have foretold.

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

Barbara Croft won the Drue Heinz Literature Prize in 1998 for her short story collection Necessary Fictions and has published one other collection of short stories. An earlier version of Moon’s Crossing won a gold medal from the Pirate’s Alley Faulkner Society in 2000. A native Iowan, Croft has lived in the Chicago area for several years.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

In august of 1914, on the eve of World War I, Jim Moon, then sixty-eight
years old, stepped off the stern of a ferry in New York harbor just as the
boat passed under the Brooklyn Bridge. A schoolteacher on holiday who
happened to witness Moon"s exit reported that he was reciting "Song of
Myself": Born here of parents born here from parents the same . . .
Moon sank like a stone and failed to rise.
"That"s impossible," a policeman said.
Nevertheless, it was three days before the body surfaced, a full
day more before Jim Moon"s remains were identified through the piecing
together of random clues discovered in his personal effects. No one knew
him except a girl in a hotel room near Second Avenue, the accidental
executor of Jim Moon"s meager estate.
"He left these," she told the policeman. "Pictures."
The girl produced a sizable stack of drawings, done in chalk on
brown parcel paper.
"So, your man was an artist."
The girl shrugged.
They were architectural drawings, crudely rendered. Clearly,
whoever had made them lacked the benefits of formal artistic training. Yet,
in the sweep of the line, the selection of detail, the bold rendering of negative
space, the work showed a certain unmistakable native ability.
"Castles in Spain, he called them," the girl said.
There were also several books, prominent among them a thick
green reference work called Harper"s Chicago and the World"s Fair,
published by a New York house in 1892. The Harper"s was badly worn—
shattered, a rare-book dealer would say—the pages dog-eared and stained.
The boards were loose and held together by a frayed length of faded purple
ribbon, and tucked between the pages were a number of yellowed newspaper
clippings, along with assorted pamphlets and tracts and a lithograph of a
stately, impassive woman, holding aloft a scepter and a globe.
"What"s this?" The policeman held up a sketch of a tree stump,
rendered precisely to scale on quadrille paper.
"That"s his stone."

The weight of Jim Moon"s boots and linen trousers pulled him down. For the
first few seconds he held his breath. My respiration and inspiration, the
beating of my heart, the passing of blood and air through my lungs . . .

The policeman studied the sketch of Moon"s tombstone. "So, he intended
to pull a Brodie."

The sunlight faded above Moon"s head. The river sealed over him and grew
increasingly cold. The turmoil on the docks subsided until he heard only the
intimate silence of water. Spiraling down, Moon saw nothing but darkness,
saw everything. Drifting, he nudged against a jagged angle of iron and
caught. His hair fanned out like a dirty halo. His arms, crooked at the elbow,
lifted and fell with the current, moving like wings.

Meanwhile, in Iowa, a burly stonecutter named Hubert Olsen was driving
toward a small town south of Winterset with a tombstone in his wagon.
Winslow Homer Moon was about to receive his inheritance.
The fact that the stone was delivered on the day of Jim Moon"s
death was coincidental. Olsen had finished the work that morning and,
being eager to collect, decided to close up shop and deliver the stone that
afternoon. Stopping to inquire at Varner"s dry-goods store—Olsen, of
course, was looking for Jim Moon—he was directed to Sweetbriar, a second-
rate boarding house just north of the square. There he wrestled the stone
from the wagon and set it up ceremoniously in the yard.
"I won"t accept it," Winslow said. Something about the stone
made Win uneasy.
"Where I come from," Olsen told him, "young men shoulder their
debts."
Winslow explained that the stone was not his debt, not anything
to do with him, but Olsen was determined to collect. He produced a letter
that Moon had written him, in effect a purchase order, signed in Moon"s own
hand, along with a rough design for the stone that Moon himself had
sketched on butcher paper.
"He is your father," Olsen said, "this James R. Moon?"

Hooked. A jagged scrap of rusty iron had hold of Moon"s sleeve. He
undulated in purgatorial waters. A brawny gaff man on the surface fished for
Moon with a slender pole, swirling the hook in figure eights, but Moon was
agile and weightless. He danced away.
"Get a net," somebody hollered. Voices, footsteps. Moon paid no
attention. I am satisfied—I see, dance, laugh . . . Disaffected, finished now
with beginnings and with endings, and not expecting his life to pass before
him—not, at least, in any orderly fashion—Moon welcomed instead a crude
kaleidoscope of fragments, shards of the old naive totality.

"Almost fifty-five dollars," Mrs. Maythorpe gasped. "How will you ever pay for
it, Mr. Moon?"
Mrs. Maythorpe—called Mother by her boarders—was the
proprietor of Sweetbriar, where Win Moon had been living since he
graduated from high school and took a job with the Reverend Cyrus Rayburn
as handyman at the Open Bible Church.
"I simply cannot comprehend," she said, "what in the world your
father could have been thinking. A thing like that."
The "thing" was, in fact, a sort of pulpit, three feet eight inches
high, carved in cream-colored Iowa limestone to resemble a tree stump,
probably oak, twined with ivy. Calla lilies grew at the base, and on the top—
this was the part that Winslow found disturbing— lay an open stone book.
"The Book of Life," Pastor Rayburn said, passing Mother
Maythorpe"s yard and stopping to admire the monument. "Wherein we may
read of our sins and our glory."
Winslow had no sins and precious little glory, except perhaps for
Caroline, Mrs. Maythorpe"s daughter, a stubborn girl of modest looks and
impeccable common sense, the perfect mate with whom to live an ordinary
life.
"He must of been crazy," Caroline said.
Winslow loved this girl with an ardor that far exceeded her merits
and would have married her gladly if only he could resolve certain life
questions he had and acquire enough money to win over her practical
nature. Their future was compromised, however, by Win"s poverty and by the
reputation for lunacy Jim Moon had gathered around his family, and now by
this unexpected debt, beneath which Winslow squirmed like a bug on a pin.
"Pastor can only pay me sixteen dollars a week," Win said,
talking mostly to himself. "And there"s my education and my board." Unable
to afford the seminary in Des Moines, Win was taking a correspondence
course from the Shipley Institute for Self-Improvement in Chicago.
"Well, Mother says you can"t leave that thing in the yard,"
Caroline said. "People talk so."
"I know."
"Mother says people say . . . Well, you know what they say, and
they say that your father— Well, Win, he couldn"t have loved you very
much. Not really."
"I know."
"Or he would have made a home for you, Mother says. That"s
what people do."
"Caroline, please."
"People don"t wander around the world for no good reason and
never come home like your father." Caroline was relentless on the subject of
Jim Moon. "Well, do they?"

It was late afternoon in Lower Manhattan, and something about the setting
sun through the latticework of the bridge—the black and the red—made
Moon"s final choice seem obvious. He stood up and stretched, a tall man.
He drew a last deep breath of harbor air and savored it—fishy, rank, sun-shot,
copper-edged—and began to recite. I celebrate myself and sing myself . . .
When he reached a suitable stopping point, he stepped out of his life.

"A lunatic." Caroline turned her back on the stone.
"And what does that make me, then?" Winslow said.
"The man was a seeker of truth in a timeless text." Pastor
Rayburn ran a fingertip down a blank page of Jim Moon"s limestone book as
though he were in search of a particularly relevant passage. "And no man
dares reproach him." He looked at Winslow.
Winslow did reproach his father, however—or at least he tried.
Egged on by Caroline, Win nodded sagely whenever old Moon"s faults were
catalogued. "Well, I guess he was sort of eccentric," he said.
"Eccentric?" Caroline affected a wide, theatrical stare. "Eccentric?
He was a loony bird. Who else would buy a cement tree stump?"
"It"s stone."
"He must have been boiled as an owl, three sheets to the wind."
"Caroline."
"Oh, Win. You know what they say."
In fact, there was some truth to her assertion: Jim Moon had
commissioned the stone after a two-day binge of savage drinking. But even
if Win had known this fact, he would have tried to deny it. Yes, he was hurt
and angry, and yes, he agreed, in theory, that Jim Moon was a sorry excuse
for a man. But like most lonely children, Win had learned to comfort himself
through imagination, constructing, over the years, a private, blameless
make-believe father. This storybook Moon was handsome, wise, brave, a
splendid soldier. He was heroic, of course, but without conceit—a bold
horseman, a crackerjack shot. He was an irresistible ladies" man.
Win spent many idle moments filling in the details of this portrait
and eluding the factual snares that would have "proven" what Moon really
was. This wasn"t easy in a small town where "what they say" became, with
sufficient repetition, the truth. The facts were hard, what few of them Win
knew: that, in October of 1893, Jim Moon, a middle-aged man by then, had
left his young wife, Mae— and Winslow, less than three months old—to
visit the World"s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and that, for whatever
reason, he never came home. Win"s mother disappeared the following
summer under "mysterious circumstances," and Winslow was taken in by a
neighbor lady, Mrs. Ross.
He became "that Moon boy," an isolated, melancholy creature
who lived with an invisible mark upon him. Pitied and held in awe by the
town as someone whose fate forever remained suspended, Win grew up the
same way bread dough swells, out of some ferment inside but without
direction. When Mrs. Ross passed on some twenty years later, Winslow
Homer Moon was still not "settled."

"Win told Hue Olsen just to take that crazy tombstone right on back,"
Caroline bragged at supper.
Win blanched. "Caroline, I did not."
"Win"s got a level head on his shoulders," Mother Maythorpe said.
Caroline heaped potatoes on her plate and splashed on the thick
beef gravy. "Said Jim Moon was no concern of his."
"Well, not in so many words," Win said.
"Integrity," Mother Maythorpe said, beaming at Win. She passed
him the succotash. "Some people have it, and some people don"t."
"Course, in the end, he had to agree to take it on and pay. That"s
the law." Caroline hacked at her skirt steak. "But, Mama, you should of
seen our Winnie standing up to that man."
In point of fact, Win had done no such thing. As in most
confrontations, he had wilted after a brief show of reluctance, and Olsen had
bullied him into accepting the stone by scowling deeply and flexing his
muscles. Win folded like a paper fan and agreed to pay a dollar a week until
the debt was cleared.
It had not been a proud moment. Now, however, hearing
Caroline"s version of the story, Win reconsidered and seemed to remember
that perhaps he had been somewhat decisive.
"Well, it was so unexpected," he said.
Caroline smiled. "I think you done exactly right," she told him.
She buttered a slab of bread. "And as for that old stone, why, you know
what?" She leaned over and patted his hand. "We"re just gonna chop that up
into gravel."

The policeman was young and ambitious, a thick, redheaded Irishman with
an eye to politics. This waterlogged old codger just could be the ticket.
Word on the street was, there was a runner missing, an old man like the stiff
in question with the same gray beard and bony physique, supposed to deliver
a very interesting bundle from New Jersey to certain higher-ups on the Lower
East Side. Only the thing was, the bundle had never arrived.
The policeman glanced at the girl.
"What?"
Naturally, these higher-ups were not pleased. They might be
grateful if, in the line of duty, a lowly foot patrolman like himself— helping to
identify some poor unfortunate and return his sorry remains to his grieving
family—were, by chance, to recover that selfsame bundle.
The policeman straddled a wooden chair and draped his arms over
the backrest. "So who is this old duffer, anyhow?" he said. "Your da?"
The girl wouldn"t answer.
"Don"t tell me he"s your beau."
The girl stood by the window. Morning sunlight cut across her
belly and hips and left her face in shadow.
"Of course, we know a bit about him already." The policeman had
no qualms about lying if it persuaded the girl to open up. "I"m not at liberty
to give you the full details, but . . . His involvement in the rackets, for
instance."
"Well, if you know so much, you don"t need me."
"I wouldn"t say that."
The two of them eyed each other, wary. "It"s a complicated
business," he said.
She was scrawny, plain, with dirty brown hair that separated into
thin, hopeless strands. Nineteen or twenty, sullen, but with a melancholy
that the policeman thought he could use.
He stood up and stretched. "You know," he said, trying to scare
her, "you just might be implicated here."
Her eyes were red. Her dingy yellow silk wrapper was belted
loosely at the waist. Tired, sad. Could a street girl be mourning?
"Accomplice, accessory. People have been known to go to jail for
helping other folks do wrong."
This seemed to get to her. "He didn"t do no wrong."
The room was hot. The air was close and stuffy. The room was
dark, and it didn"t help that the walls had been painted a spiritless olive
green. The floor was rough oak planking, dull and unpainted, worn by the
ebb and flow of hundreds of men. There was a braided oval rug in shades of
brown and an old brass wind-up clock on the floor beside the bed.
The girl stepped out of the light. "What"s your name?"
The policeman had begun to search the room. "Never mind who I
am. It"s the old man we"re talking about."
The door had been left open to catch what little breeze there was,
hiding Moon"s old gabardine coat, hung on a wire hook on the back of the
door.
"I"d say it"s John or Michael." The girl hoped to distract him. "A
saint or an angel."
"It"s Michael," he said.
"Mike, Mickey, Mick."
"Fine." The policeman was losing his patience. "Now who"s this
man of yours and where"s the money?"
She thought for a moment, weighing her options. "I"m waiting on
my lawyer," she told him.
The policeman smiled. He took off his cap and wiped his
forehead, grinning, and shook his head. "Sure, that"s a good one," he said.
"What?"
"Your lawyer."
"I got friends."
He studied her face, trying to pierce the pale forehead, glimpse
the complex engine of her mind, its cunning arrangement of spinning
wheels and silver gears. The flash of thought. Probably wondering right now
what to tell him and how and how much and in what sequence. Calculating.
The girl ticked like a watch.
"I met him in a bar," she said finally. "Dugan"s, I think it was."
"And?"
"Nothing but an old man," she said.
The policeman searched through the bureau. He opened the pine
wardrobe and peered in. "How old would you say he was?"
"I don"t know."
He sorted throug...

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780786259588: Moon's Crossing

Featured Edition

ISBN 10:  0786259582 ISBN 13:  9780786259588
Publisher: Thorndike Press, 2003
Hardcover

Top Search Results from the AbeBooks Marketplace

1.

Croft, Barbara
Published by Mariner Books 8/12/2003 (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
DontPayMore
(Lindenhurst, NY, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Mariner Books 8/12/2003, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. 0618341536 New Condition. NEW BOOK!! SHIPS IMMEDIATELY!!. Seller Inventory # Z0618341536ZN

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 5.47
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 1.00
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

2.

Barbara Croft
Published by Mariner Books (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Paperback Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Ergodebooks
(RICHMOND, TX, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Mariner Books, 2003. Paperback. Condition: New. Seller Inventory # DADAX0618341536

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 8.11
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

3.

Barbara Croft
Published by Houghton Mifflin (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Pbshop
(Wood Dale, IL, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 2003. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Shipped from US within 10 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780618341535

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 9.63
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.99
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

4.

Barbara Croft
Published by HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, United States (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Print on Demand
Seller:
Book Depository International
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, United States, 2003. Hardback. Condition: New. None.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****. A stunning, cinematic debut novel set at the 1893 Chicago World s Fair, Moon s Crossing explores a unique time in American history, when the romantic heritage of the nineteenth century merged with the industrial temperament of the modern age. Jim Moon, an idealistic Union Army veteran, leaves his young wife and son to visit the World s Columbian Exposition, which has attracted America s greatest artists and thinkers as well as its drifters and schemers. Nick, a fast-talking con man, takes Moon to Pullman Town, a model city south of Chicago that is the site of the complex labor strike of 1894. Moon comes to see that the bright future the fair promised is compromised by greed. Unable to recapture his early vision of America, he takes his own life, and in so doing generates a surprising love story between a common young woman and a corrupt policeman as well as a major upheaval in the life of his neglected son. Kaleidoscopic and fast-paced, Moon s Crossing draws on such sources as the traditional tall tale to present a unique narrative style. Moon s adventures are completely American, and the legacy he leaves is, ironically, more significant than his failed life would have foretold. Seller Inventory # APC9780618341535

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.78
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

5.

Barbara Croft
Published by HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, United States (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Hardcover Quantity Available: 10
Print on Demand
Seller:
The Book Depository
(London, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description HOUGHTON MIFFLIN, United States, 2003. Hardback. Condition: New. None.. Language: English . Brand New Book ***** Print on Demand *****.A stunning, cinematic debut novel set at the 1893 Chicago World s Fair, Moon s Crossing explores a unique time in American history, when the romantic heritage of the nineteenth century merged with the industrial temperament of the modern age. Jim Moon, an idealistic Union Army veteran, leaves his young wife and son to visit the World s Columbian Exposition, which has attracted America s greatest artists and thinkers as well as its drifters and schemers. Nick, a fast-talking con man, takes Moon to Pullman Town, a model city south of Chicago that is the site of the complex labor strike of 1894. Moon comes to see that the bright future the fair promised is compromised by greed. Unable to recapture his early vision of America, he takes his own life, and in so doing generates a surprising love story between a common young woman and a corrupt policeman as well as a major upheaval in the life of his neglected son. Kaleidoscopic and fast-paced, Moon s Crossing draws on such sources as the traditional tall tale to present a unique narrative style. Moon s adventures are completely American, and the legacy he leaves is, ironically, more significant than his failed life would have foretold. Seller Inventory # APC9780618341535

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 15.16
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

6.

Barbara Croft
Published by Mariner Books (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Softcover Quantity Available: 1
Seller:
Irish Booksellers
(Portland, ME, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Mariner Books, 2003. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0618341536

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 11.96
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 3.27
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

7.

Barbara Croft
Published by Mariner Books
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Paperback Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
BuySomeBooks
(Las Vegas, NV, U.S.A.)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Mariner Books. Paperback. Condition: New. 208 pages. Dimensions: 8.2in. x 5.5in. x 0.6in.A stunning, cinematic debut novel set at the 1893 Chicago Worlds Fair, Moons Crossing explores a unique time in American history, when the romantic heritage of the nineteenth century merged with the industrial temperament of the modern age. Jim Moon, an idealistic Union Army veteran, leaves his young wife and son to visit the Worlds Columbian Exposition, which has attracted Americas greatest artists and thinkers as well as its drifters and schemers. Nick, a fast-talking con man, takes Moon to Pullman Town, a model city south of Chicago that is the site of the complex labor strike of 1894. Moon comes to see that the bright future the fair promised is compromised by greed. Unable to recapture his early vision of America, he takes his own life, and in so doing generates a surprising love story between a common young woman and a corrupt policeman as well as a major upheaval in the life of his neglected son. Kaleidoscopic and fast-paced, Moons Crossing draws on such sources as the traditional tall tale to present a unique narrative style. Moons adventures are completely American, and the legacy he leaves is, ironically, more significant than his failed life would have foretold. This item ships from multiple locations. Your book may arrive from Roseburg,OR, La Vergne,TN. Paperback. Seller Inventory # 9780618341535

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 17.27
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: FREE
Within U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

8.

Croft, Barbara
Published by Mariner Books
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New PAPERBACK Quantity Available: > 20
Seller:
Russell Books
(Victoria, BC, Canada)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Mariner Books. PAPERBACK. Condition: New. 0618341536 Special order direct from the distributor. Seller Inventory # ING9780618341535

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 14.95
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 7.00
From Canada to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

9.

Barbara Croft
Published by Houghton Mifflin (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Quantity Available: > 20
Print on Demand
Seller:
Books2Anywhere
(Fairford, GLOS, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Houghton Mifflin, 2003. HRD. Condition: New. New Book. Delivered from our UK warehouse in 4 to 14 business days. THIS BOOK IS PRINTED ON DEMAND. Established seller since 2000. Seller Inventory # IQ-9780618341535

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 10.29
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 11.75
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

10.

Croft, Barbara
Published by Mariner Books (2003)
ISBN 10: 0618341536 ISBN 13: 9780618341535
New Paperback Quantity Available: 2
Seller:
Revaluation Books
(Exeter, United Kingdom)
Rating
[?]

Book Description Mariner Books, 2003. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 192 pages. 8.00x5.50x0.50 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # x-0618341536

More information about this seller | Contact this seller

Buy New
US$ 16.48
Convert currency

Add to Basket

Shipping: US$ 9.79
From United Kingdom to U.S.A.
Destination, rates & speeds

There are more copies of this book

View all search results for this book