Catch The Moon, Mary by Wendy Waters
In Catch the Moon, Mary Waters composes an extraordinary tale that intertwines a Faustian pact between a musical child-prodigy and a beguiling angel with the themes of family, love, and the transcendent powers of art. Waters’ style is lyrical, captivating, and rich, flowing melodiously through the original structure that comprises musical compositions and rhythms rather than conventional chapters. Thus, content and form complement each other in following a meandering narrative path which, for all of the novel’s magical realism, is tenaciously natural and greedily life-affirming. Indeed Jennifer, the motherly gardener, confirms this: ‘Nature travels in a cruel and twisted, but profoundly honest line.’
On the other hand, the plight of the angel as a representative of divinity enables Waters to scrutinise religion in a subtly subversive way. She fills in biblical blanks all the way back to the Genesis, and exposes, ironically, the delusions of Christian devoutness against a far different reality. Thematically, therefore, the novel is layered and complex.
The characters’ thoughts and intentions unfold clearly, while the evocative language triggers a strong synaesthetic response in both the characters and the reader. Mary’s growth from a girl to a mature woman is reminiscent of a Bildungsroman as she teeters precariously between life and death, sanity and madness. Yet, some of the other characters, such as Robert Goodman, could benefit from further development rather than being sacrificed for the sake of action. This, however, does not diminish the unique powers the novel wields in kindling and guiding the reader’s imagination.
— Marija Spirkovska, MSc graduate in Literature and Modernity: 1900 to the Present, University of Edinburgh