Book Review: The Pull of the Moon by Julie Paul

The Pull of the Moon – Julie Paul (Brindle & Glass, 2014)

This was a fine collection of short stories. And I mean that in a complimentary manner. This short story collection had languished on my TBR for years and so when I needed something quick and sweet to mix up my reading, I requested it from the library and it hit just the spot I needed. Although I don’t know Julie Paul, I heard her collection recommend from writers I know in Victoria, where Paul lives. Many of the stories are set around Victoria which made for fun reading since I was able to easily picture the city I lived in for many years. Several of the stories also revolve around parenthood in some way which also made them relatable for me, even as the stories’ parents found themselves in situations unfamiliar to me. (And often to themselves.)

The collection starts strong with “Black Forest”, about a father whose marriage is probably ending. His wife has taken off, leaving him to solo parent their neurodivergent child. Lawrence is overwhelmed and exhausted by parenting and the self-sacrifice that it requires. I think that’s a feeling any parent will be able to recognize and Paul treats Lawrence with great sympathy so that he is never judged.

“Weeping Camperdown” is almost a cautionary tale, hilarious and creepy, of a single father venturing back into the world of dating with a woman who initially finds a terrific connection with. “Tropical Dreams” shows two relationships on the brink of chaos. Two couples vacation together with potentially disastrous results.

But the story that stuck with me most was “Her Full Name Was Beatrice” and if you read it, I think you’ll see why instantly. It is stylistically different, a powerful and dark story that omits the humour found in most of Paul’s other stories. While some of the other stories here have blurred in my mind in the days since I finished the book, “Beatrice” is crystal clear and still heart-breaking.

9 thoughts on “Book Review: The Pull of the Moon by Julie Paul”

  1. My post tomorrow is about a fiction collection I finished about 10 days ago, and there are a few moments from that book that are stuck in my memory. I love fiction collections that can do that. Not all do, especially writers who seem to chew over the same topic in every story.

    1. Me too! There were a few themes revisited here but done so that the stories still felt unique and not like the same thing being repeated. Not always the case with short story collections!

  2. Oh what a cliffhanger you’ve left us on with Beatrice! I like revisiting backlist, and I do hope publishers appreciate it when bloggers like us read a book that’s older, but not a classic. I always find it so sad that a year-old book is considered just too old to pay attention to by a publisher, meanwhile it represents years of effort by an author…

    1. The window in which a book is in the public’s eye can be really, really short but there are so many good books that are deserving of more attention!

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