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Golden Hour Books

The Eighth Moon: A Memoir of Belonging and Rebellion by Jennifer Kabat (5/7/24)

The Eighth Moon: A Memoir of Belonging and Rebellion by Jennifer Kabat (5/7/24)

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“Beautifully written, The Eighth Moon uses a very light touch to probe the most essential, unresolvable questions of belief, kinship, fidelity, history, and identity.”—Chris Kraus

"1845. The sky is blue, yet all is brown. I picture the scene from overhead: a silvered steel of violence, blood, beer, whiskey, and mutton. High, skidding clouds skip with excitement, eager to see what unfolds below. They cheer on the scene where men in dresses march."

A rebellion, guns, and murder. When Jennifer Kabat moves to the Catskills in 2005, she has no idea it was the site of the Anti-Rent War, an early episode of American rural populism. Prompted to leave London following a mysterious illness that seems to be caused by life in the city itself, she finds in these ancient mountains—at once the northernmost part of Appalachia and a longtime refuge for New Yorkers—a place "where the land itself holds time."

She forges friendships with her new neighbors and explores the countryside on logging roads and rutted lanes, finding meadows dotted with milkweed in bloom, saffron salamanders, a blood moon rising over Munsee, Oneida, and Mohawk land. As the Great Recession sets in and a housing crisis looms, she supports herself with freelance work and adjunct teaching, slowly learning of the 1840s uprising, when poor tenant farmers fought to redistribute their landlords' vast estates. In the farmers’ socialist dreams, she discovers connections to her parents’ collectivist values, as well as to our current moment. Threaded with historical documents, the natural world, and the work of writers like Adrienne Rich and Elizabeth Hardwick, Kabat weaves a capacious memoir, where the past comes alive in the present.

Rich with unexpected correspondences and discoveries, this visionary and deeply compassionate debut gives us a new way of seeing and being in place—one in which everything is intertwined and all at once.

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