The Almost Moon

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The Almost Moon
The Almost Moon (Alice Sebold novel) cover art.jpg
Author Alice Sebold
Country USA
Language English
Genre Fiction
Publisher Little, Brown and Company
Publication date
Media type Print (hardback)
Pages 291
ISBN 0-316-67746-9
OCLC 85830839
813/.6 22
LC Class PS3619.E26 A79 2007

The Almost Moon is the third book and second novel by American writer Alice Sebold, author of her memoir, Lucky and The Lovely Bones. It was released by Little, Brown and Company in the United States on October 16, 2007.[1]


Artist's model and divorcee, Helen Knightly spontaneously murders her mother, an agoraphobic now suffering from severe dementia, by suffocating her with a towel. But while her act is almost unconscious, it also seems like the fulfilment of a long-cherished, buried desire, since she spent a lifetime trying to win the love of a mother who had none to spare. Over the next twenty-four hours, Helen recalls her: childhood, youth, marriage, and motherhood. Her life and the omnipresent relationship with her mother rush in at her as she confronts the choices that have brought her to that crossroads. Partly absent-mindedly, partly desperately she tries to conceal her crime, and in doing so ropes her ex-husband into the conspiracy.


The novel received mixed reviews from literary critics. While some lauded the story for its unflinching portrayal of violence and mental illness, others found it messy and unconvincing.

  • The Almost Moon, comparable to Jeffrey Eugenides's The Virgin Suicides (1993), is a candid, at times horribly funny and often beautifully touching exploration of one woman's realisation that her life has been swallowed, or rather cancelled. The genius which guides The Almost Moon is its absolute, horrible, multiple truth; its staggering clarity. - Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times
  • This will be welcomed by admirers of Sebold's dirty realism, quasi-poetic style and helter-skelter storytelling gifts. Amazingly, she manages to make her gothic tale as moving as it is unquestionably gripping. - The Observer
  • Chapter by chapter, Sebold peels away the layers of her narrator's misery and self-deception, and creates an extended and sometimes blackly comic critique of a popular literary genre. - Helen Dunmore, The Times
  • The novel is so morally, emotionally and intellectually incoherent that it’s bound to become a best seller. - Lee Siegel, New York Times [2]
  • Practically every paragraph is a talking point. - Newsweek
  • Sebold can write, that's clear, but her sophomore effort is not in line with her talent. - Publishers Weekly
  • Simultaneously uncomfortable and absorbing. - Kim Hedges, San Francisco Chronicle
  • The book is emotionally false... it is implausible that people would react to the murder as they do. - Elizabeth Hand, Village Voice
  • Sebold has achieved something vastly more resonant and real than the fairy tale that made her name. - Michael Antman, PopMatters


  1. ^ Book Expo GalleyWatch: Which Fall Books Got the Biggest Push? New York Magazine, June 5, 2007
  2. ^ Mom’s in the Freezer by Lee Siegel, New York Times, October 21, 2007

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