Behind the Moon

Behind the Moon

Midwest Book Review

"A deftly crafted and inherently gripping novel from beginning to end, Behind the Moon by Madison Smartt Bell is a truly extraordinary read and one that will linger in the mind and memory of the reader long after the book is finished and set back upon the shelf. Highly recommended, especially for community library Contemporary General Fiction collections."—The Midwest Book Review

The Hudson Review

"His novel, or 'fever dream,' as he dubs it on the title page, riveted me. Bell's ever-beguiling prose feels richer than ever, and the narrative structure—time past, present, and future in a Western cave; ancient peoples and their descendants—transcends linearity."—Susan Balée, The Hudson Review

The Nervous Breakdown
Aug 24, 2017

"...Bell is one of those writers who defies categorization and at times even description, his work somehow managing to track the borderland between experimental mind games and the solid characterization and description of mainstream literary fiction."—Kurt Baumeister

"Interview on WOWD 94.3 FM Takoma Park, Maryland"
Aug 7, 2017

Madison Smartt Bell is interviewed by Michael Causey on WOWD 94.3 FM Takoma Park, Maryland.

Playlist on Largehearted Boy
Jul 10, 2017

Madison Smartt Bell creates a playlist for his novel Behind the Moon for Largehearted Boy.

Shelf Awareness
Jun 27, 2017

"Bell's challenging dip into magical realism to describe the girl's visions and their transformative effect on her self-discovery give Behind the Moon heft and strength. Bell can mesmerize even when his novels run short."—Bruce Jacobs, Watermark Books & Cafe, Wichita, Kansas

O Magazine
Jun 15, 2017

"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."—O Magazine

Chapter 16
May 30, 2017

"Behind the Moon is described on its title page as 'A Fever Dream,' and it operates on dream logic that favors emotional effect and coherence over linear storytelling. . . .  It's a fascinating, unsettling journey."—Maria Browning, Chapter 16

Excerpt from "Behind the Moon" on Lithub
Jun 2, 2017

On the Seawall
May 31, 2017

"Behind The Moon, leads the reader into a world where a sinister element, willing only its own will, seems to dominate a South Dakotan town, beyond which the Cheyenne River Reservation and the rocky cliffs of the badlands attract the town's joyriding teens."—Ron Slate, On the Seawall

Wall Street Journal
May 13, 2017

"Madison Smartt Bell is one of those novelists who slip the net of classification. . . . lately he's ventured into the American West, for The Color of Night  (2011), a goosepimpler about a former Manson cultist, and for his eerie and peculiar novel Behind the Moon."—Sam Sacks on the "Best New Fiction: Literary thrillers by Madison Smartt Bell and others," Wall Street Journal

"Interview with Madison Smartt Bell by Maya Alexandri on"
May 10, 2017

"Bell's talent for channeling the forces that demand pagan worship into the service of literature is manifest in his new novel, Behind the Moon, which charts a mother, Marissa, and her daughter, Julie, on a shamanic journey initiated when Julie tumbles into the shaft of a cave adorned with prehistoric paintings."—Maya Alexandri

"Interview on WYPR"
May 10, 2017

"Interview in the Baltimore Writer's Club"
May 9, 2017
- Baltimore Fishbowl

May 8, 2017

"Madison Smartt Bell, a past finalist for the National Book Award and the PEN/Faulkner Award, lays out a gorgeous, desert dreamscape full of bad men and lost souls in his latest novel, Behind the Moon."—Ellory McLamb, JMWW Blog

"Interview on the Paris Review's blog"
May 8, 2017

Madison Smartt Bell interviewed for the Paris Review's blog.

- The Paris Review

Kirkus Reviews

"From Bell (The Color of Night, 2011, etc.), a novel about a young woman finding her way back aboveground both literally and metaphorically after a misadventure beneath the surface of things. . . . lyrical, ambitious, and well worth reading."—Kirkus Reviews

Publishers Weekly

"In Bell's latest novel, a girl named Julie, fleeing from a violent sexual encounter in the desert, tumbles into a cave and falls into a fever dream inspired by ancient drawings on the cave walls. . . . [A ] powerful, mind-bending work."—Publishers Weekly

Library Journal

"This latest from National Book Award finalist Bell (after Zig Zag Wanderer) is the story of an illicit teenage camping trip gone awry. . . . Multiple versions and perspectives are pervasive and illustrate the dream space and the story, culminating in a perfect matchup of beginning and ending."—Starred review, Library Journal


"Bell, bewitching and incandescently imaginative, masterfully parallels Marissa and Jamal's heart-pounding encounters with mayhem and mystery . . . [a] mind-twisting drama . . ."—Donna Seaman

"Behind the Moon featured in Baltimore Style Magazine"

"RNGS A BELL: In commemoration of the release of his latest novel, Behind the Moon, Baltimore author and National Book Award Finalist Madison Smartt Bell will join Bird in Hand's "Starts Here!" reading series. The novel tells the tale of a teenager named Julie who is attacked in the desert while on a camping trip with her friends … and the surprising ways in which her birth mother helps her to heal. Hear Bell read from the book May 13 at Bird in Hand Bookstore. Free." —K.U.

- Baltimore Style

Linda Chown, Numero Cinq Magazine

"Behind the Moon is an astounding achievement, to be read with an equally astounding freedom. . . . through and through a magical encounter and a novel of mystery, but then what should one expect being taken there behind the moon, that emblem in the sky of love, of unknown loneliness, and uneasy inaccessibility?"—Linda Chown, Numero Cinq Magazine

"Excerpt in Numero Cinq Magazine"
May 4, 2017

An excerpt from Behind the Moon in Numero Cinq Magazine.

- Numero Cinq Magazine