"A luminous, captivating exploration of ordinary existence that bursts with spiritual meaning." —Kirkus Reviews.
Imagine: your unspoken questions being voiced by a stranger hiking the interior of West Papua. Then imagine the feeling of being truly heard, by a mother listening to Schweizer-Deutsch in a barn in rural Switzerland . . . while you’ve not spoken a word! Blood, sweat, thirst and calloused feet are tied together through poetry and prose in this elevating novel for new mothers and new fathers. Pregnancy loss, miscarriage grief, and overwhelming infant care find healing and new purpose here in HALF MOON WAKING, dancing in partnership with haikus, outer space, and the discreet meaning of trees. Classical and modern poetry structures in this collection have been pressed into a parenting framework, and into a reflective adventure, in such a way that philosophers, nature-lovers, outdoorsmen, and outdoorswomen will each finally encounter an explorer who thinks and questions and enjoys the wilderness like him or herself.
This nonfiction book is a must-read for tired new mothers and tired new fathers. Even through the asking of vulnerable questions, HALF MOON WAKING provides tangible support and guidance to family systems, fading spirits, and anyone grieving a miscarriage. The first third of the book contains mostly poetry, fiction, and essays written in the author’s early twenties (twenty years ago). A great majority of the pieces not pertaining to parenthood were written in 1999. The center of the book holds a reverent series of poetry: chronicling the author’s experience (ten years ago) of losing the family’s third baby at nine weeks. Miscarriage—and all the rolling waves of pain and confusion that storm in, uninvited, with a pregnancy loss. The final third of the novel reflects on the seasons of spring and winter, nature, and a deep love for outdoor adventure. Empathy for those families losing sleep due to sick kids fills the final sections of HALF MOON WAKING.
Compassion pierces through every page of this encouraging book for deep-thinking adults, marriages facing difficulties, and primarily for any and all parents. With the diaper changes, with the sleepless nights, with the marriage tension or partner conflicts, so many parents seek some new zest for life. The author’s curiosity about pain, science, and existence, her writing that spins forests with comets with first love with cross-country skiing, her search for the truth that is hidden in muddy hiking trails and in livestock’s pasture; these all are the soulful writing techniques that can best bring readers the answers they’ve been hoping for, zeal for sharp winter winds they’d been ordinarily tackling alone, and solutions to the thirst which adventurers, lovers, overwhelmed fathers, and exhausted mothers just couldn’t yet put words to.
Shining with insight and playful language, pieces such as "Calling Mommy" ("three-dimensional sound wrapping/ around a sweet spot/ the word naively singing a miniature siren sword") dig deep into life’s richest experiences. Hunziker also offers vivid detail in pieces exploring the challenges of breastfeeding and considering the calming tranquility of nature ("Trees teach. Trees produce. Trees help build things. Yet maybe even more profoundly, they are simply here.”), the lines fluid and alive with feeling while honoring the poetic forms. "The canvas of life provides so many unique motivations for our work," Hunziker writes about finding a passion or calling and "not 'only' trying to arrange our bliss.” This inspirational collection also focuses on faith, love, and cultivating a relationship with God, children, and ourselves.
Half Moon Waking explores life lessons with vulnerability and empathy as Hunziker, writing with approachable eloquence, ruminates on experiences both treasured and painful, including some, like the exhaustion of the first weeks of motherhood, that are too complex—”too ripe and absurd,/ too stark real”—to fully capture in language. The result is a surprising collection, straightforward and personal despite its host of formal approaches, digging deeply into what the author has learned as she has grown, often in the face of self-doubt, into maturity and the wisdom that “the most beautiful treasures in life are those that involve pain, time, and great effort.”
Takeaway: Wise and engaging chapbook on parenthood, faith, and love
Comparable Titles: Rudy Francisco's I'll Fly Away, Morgan Harper Nichols's All Along You Were Blooming.
Design and typography: A
Marketing copy: A