A Thousand Moons
A Thousand Moons by Sebastian Barry (Faber, 2020)

First of all, you have to read Days Without End. There, you meet Thomas McNulty and John Cole and their saving of a Lakota little girl they call Winona. A Thousand Moons tells the subsequent story of Winona, in her unique and inimitable voice. This is an extraordinary book which I am happy to call a masterpiece. 1870 small-town Tennessee is fraught with danger, and the homestead of outsiders in which Winona lives is at the forefront of potential trouble. But Barry knows exactly how to tell an enthralling story without overdoing the menace, by perfectly pitching voices, characters and events that take the reader into the heart of this place. And in Winona he gives us a character of such depth that you’ll be sorry to come to the end of this book. ‘It’s a wonder all that talk that goes in lives and never much considered or remembered. Never prompted too much by actual thought and no matter. Just the merciful birdsong of whatever bird we are.’

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