I read The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon by Tom Spanbauer for the first time in 2000 I think. I was in love with Shed, the protagonist, after the first paragraph. I continued to fall in love with pretty much the rest of the story’s main cast as Shed introduced them one by one; Ida Richilieu, Alma Hatch, Dellwood Barker.
After reading it the first time I got my own copy and reread it at least once a year over the next couple of years. It was my favorite and most beloved book ever. The last time I read it was in 2004 or 2005. Since then it’s been gathering dust in a box at my parents’ home. When we moved back here I brought it down with us to Cape Town, but never opened it.
I was worried that reading it again I will find the characters dull, the stories empty and be disappointed. I actually considered giving it away the other day. But Alexander suggested I try reading it again before doing so.
I was trying to get into Die Afrikaner (The Afrikaner) at the time and found the writing style decidedly dull, so I figured I might as well take turns between the two books. After the first page of Man I had Die Afrikaner in the stack of books I had to return to Christel. I was falling in love again.
The Man Who Fell in Love with the Moon is still my most favorite book. It is hard and it is sad, the characters are prostitutes and gay men in a time and in a place where there was very little tolerance for them. But it is so beautifully written, it draws one in and you cannot put it down, through all the grimness and the wretchedness, and the moments of happiness.