from Lori D. Kranz The Bloomsbury Review — a review of The Vanishing Moon
The Vanishing Moon is a good old-fashioned novel. “Old-fashioned” in the best sense of the word: a compelling story, interesting and well-rendered characters, and great writing. Told in three voices, the book concerns the Tollman family, beginning with a middle brother Stephen as a child during the Great Depression. Jessica Tollman, his mother, is going blind as Eddie, his father, loses his job and cannot pay for the operation she needs The family, with three [sic] sons and a daughter, loses their home and is forced to live in a tent. Eddie, depressed and overcome by guilt over a business venture gone bad, abandons his wife and children, leaving Phil, the oldest child, with a resentment that deepens into bitterness. The story shifts to the voice of Katherine, a free spirit and talented pianist in the town, as Phil and Stephen, both enamored of her, approach adulthood in the years just before World War II. In the 1960s, James, Phil’s younger son, picks up the narrative and the reader comes to see the Tollman family — and particularly the now middle-aged Phil and Stephen — through his eyes. The novel comes full-circle with Stephen’s voice. The Vanishing Moon is a beautifully told story about family bonds, love, loss, and the power of memory over our lives. This is Joseph Coulson’s first novel, and I hope not his last.