The highly anticipated new novel from the winner of the Center for Fiction's First Novel Prize examines NYC and America in the burgeoning moments before the start of the civil war through the eyes of a young mixed-race girl.
"Rarely does one encounter a book that can so profoundly change a reader. Moon and the Mars is that book. Corthron, a true heir to James Baldwin, presents a startlingly original exposure of the complex roots of American racism and classism as well as a sweeping exploration of love in all its myriad forms. The best work of fiction I have read in many years."
—Naomi Wallace, MacArthur "Genius" Playwriting Fellow and author of One Flea Spare
Set in the Five Points neighborhood of New York City in the years 1857-1863, when America's attitudes towards people of color and slavery shifted—painfully, transformationally—to the point where a war that began to restore the union becomes one that owes much to black fighting regiments, and common cause grows for the abolition of slavery. We experience the daily life of Five Points through the eyes of Theo, aged 7 at the start of the book and 13 at its close. Theo is half Black and half Irish, an orphan living between the homes of her Black and Irish grandparents. Through her eyes we see everything from P.T. Barnum's circus to the Draft Riots that tore NYC asunder, and the daily maelstrom of work and camaraderie and hardship necessary just to survive in Five Points.
Corthron's first novel, The Castle Cross the Magnet Carter, won the coveted First Novel Prize from the Center for Fiction in 2016. It was championed by Pulitzer Prize-winner Viet Thanh Nguyen, Robin D.G. Kelley and Angela Y. Davis, among many others, and received rave reviews in The New York Times Book Review, where it was an Editor's Choice, The Wall Street Journal, and elsewhere.