Chris Meeks melds his mastery of short stories with a coming of age tale in his first novel. The reader is invited to follow Edward from his awkward and insecure youth into the often awkward and insecure middle years of his life. Each section of the novel covers the mushroom cloud events that shape Edward’s life and character, and each section reads a little like a snapshot, or stand alone short story. The story of the young Edward was familiar to me as he has appeared in Meeks prior short story compilations.
The Brightest Moon of the Century is definitely a coming-of-age story, but it doesn’t span a single summer or a handful of years. Instead it is a journey and very realistically portrayed one at that. After all, humans are creatures who hopefully never stop learning and change slowly into better people once they absorb some life lessons. Meeks has chosen some fascinating pivot points in Edward’s life, spending pages on the set up of a mini-mart and then resorting to mere paragraphs to narrate other huge life events.
Squeamish and sensitive readers should be aware of some language and quite a bit of sexuality. For example, Meeks pulls few punches when narrating Edward’s epiphany at a sperm bank.
Overall, Meeks tells a good story with believable characters. Readers who love melancholy voices should find quite a bit to like in Brightest Moon. Having just finished it, I can say I'm happy for Edward's upbeat hope though the ending is less than happily ever after.
Causes Christopher Meeks Supports
Associated Writing Programs