“…on December 22, [1999,] the evening of the winter solstice, the brightest moon of the century would appear, just days before the calendar started with new numbers for the next century. It would be the first and only full moon of the 20th century to occur on the first day of winter. These days, Edward clung to simple, objective facts as if they were the molecules of his oatmeal. Facts could not be disputed.”
Christopher Meeks’s novel, The Brightest Moon of the Century, begins with young Edward Meiopian (My-o-pyan) being forced into private school by his widowed father. With some difficulty, he learns to contend with the sons of Minnesota’s upper crust in spite of their relentless teasing, and with the help of his new stepmother finds himself settling in at the University of Denver. From there, he tries to forge a life for himself in the movie business by way of an LA camera store, an Alabama trailer park, very few girlfriends and a good deal of sexual angst.
Within the pages of Brightest Moon lies an entertaining saturnalia of authenticity also found in Meeks’s short stories (see Months and Seasons). He has a knack for making readers believe his characters are real people. The protagonist in Brightest Moon “told a writer once that it was only in conflict that you saw a character’s true personality.” Revealing truth of character is a skill Meeks has taught himself well, and he reveals Edward’s through, to use his own words, “not a single crisis, but a series of little ones….add[ing] in daily drops of discontent; stir[ring] in unconscious offenses…”
In nine chapters written much like individual short stories, Meeks gives Edward the opportunity to grow into his full self, to come full circle, to experience the brightest moon of the century. Readers can decide for themselves whether or not Edward finds any success, but the journey suggests that Meeks has.
Christopher Meeks grew up in Minnesota and attended high school in Hopkins. He is a former journalist and Daily Variety theatre critic who now teaches creative writing to graduate students at the University of Southern California. His play, Who Lives?, opened at the Pico Playhouse in Los Angeles on March 12, 2009. He will be reading at The Bookcase in Wayzata, Minnesota on March 21, 2009, at 7:30 p.m.
The Brightest Moon of the Century, 324 pp
White Whisker Books, March 7, 2009
ISBN 13: 978-0615249148