The Slow Moon page image

Jacob came to Sweetwater, Tennessee, by train. It was autumn and he felt unhoused in spirit, but he always felt that way in autumn. What brought Jacob back to Sweetwater was a letter from a woman who must be close to a hundred years old and a newspaper clipping that (though he had not read it in years) Jacob found he still knew almost by heart.

-- From the novel


It all happened 40 years ago in a Tennessee town. A gun went off. A house caught fire. And, in the rubble, a man lay dead. One woman, now nearly a hundred years old, knows all the secrets about that night -- secrets that involve two brothers, a shiny revolver, an innocent child. And this old woman, frail and fading, knows, too, that at last the time has come to spill those powerful secrets. If this whole story sounds familiar somehow -- well, then Elizabeth Cox has done her job well. Because the point she makes in her first novel is that most new stories we hear, especially the ones about disasters, turn out to be stories we've known all along. They are built right into our bones. And in every new place we visit, there is territory that's already etched on our souls -- strange territory that turns out to be familiar ground. Cox's hero, Jacob Bechner, has had a glimmering of this fact since he was a small boy and traveled on car trips through the South with his family. Every now and then, passing a certain piece of land, a clearing in the trees, Jacob would feel that it was a place he recognized, a place he'd been before. "Not de'ja vu so much, not a trick the mind plays because the place where memory is stored goes faster than what is happening in the present, but a knowledge that is deeper than anything learned so far in life.

Suzanne Freeman, 1984


"A work of startling originality!"

—The New York Times

"A writer of deep insights and a talent for conveying a sense of time and place."

—Publishers Weekly

"Her calm, clear writing treats the South knowingly...You'll find yourself thinking of these characters exactly as you think of people you know."

—USA Today