Jenna Rosen, a young mother, struck dumb with grief two years after her little boy drowns at a resort in Alasaka, feels a mysterious pull to leave her husband and their comfortable life in Seattle and return to her roots in Wrangell, a small town near the resort where her son died. She literally runs away from her grief and from the husband whom she no longer trusts, back to the place where her son’s spirit still lingers, his body having never been recovered, determined to find answers to the mystery of his death. But instead, all she finds are more questions, and she is forced to face not only her own personal demons, but the powerful spiritual and supernatural forces of her ancestors, the Tlingit (pronunced kling-it) tribe.
A combination of modern suspense story and tribal folklore, Raven Stole The Moon is actually Garth Stein’s first novel, originally published in 1998, and being re-issued this month. Stein recent best selling novel, The Art of Racing in the Rain, explores the spititual connection between man and animals, particularly dogs, and a canine spirit guide makes an appearance in Raven as well, providing protection and guidance for Jenna during her quest.
Dealing with a devastating life event is a common theme for novelists, but Stein’s suspenseful and occasionally hair-raising treatment of Jenna’s battles with the kushtaka adds a unique twist to what would otherwise have been a more conventional tale. Raven Stole the Moon is a fast paced, riveting story, and one that is a worthy precursor to Stein’s later work.