"If you haven’t read Mary Morris yet, start here. Now. Immediately."
—Jodi Picoult, New York Times bestselling author of Small Great Things
From award-winning novelist Mary Morris comes the remarkable story of a remote New Mexican town coming to grips with a dark history it never imagined.
In 1492, the Jewish and Muslim populations of Spain were expelled, and Columbus set sail for America. Luis de Torres, a Spanish Jew, accompanies Columbus as his interpreter. His journey is only the beginning of a long migration, across many generations. Over the centuries, de Torres’ descendants travel from Spain and Portugal to Mexico, finally settling in the hills of New Mexico. Five hundred years later, it is in these same hills that Miguel Torres, a young amateur astronomer, finds himself trying to understand the mystery that surrounds him and the town he grew up in.
Entrada de la Luna is a place that holds a profound secretone that its residents cannot even imagine. It is also a place that ambitious children, such as Miguel, try to leave. Poor health, broken marriages, and poverty are the norm. Luck is unusual. When Miguel sees a flyer for a babysitting job, he jumps at the opportunity, and begins work for a Jewish family new to the area. Rachel Rothstein is not the sort of parent Miguel expected. A frustrated artist, Rachel moved her family from New York in search of a fresh start, but so far New Mexico has not solved any of the problems she brought with her. Miguel loves the work, yet he is surprised to find many of the Rothstein family's customs similar to ones he’s grown up with and never understood.
Interwoven throughout the present-day narrative are the powerful stories of the ancestors of Entrada's residents, highlighting the torture, pursuit, and resistance of the Jewish people. A beautiful novel of shared history, Gateway to the Moon is a moving and memorable portrait of a family and its journey through the centuries.
|Publisher:||Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group|
|Product dimensions:||5.15(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.71(d)|
About the Author
MARY MORRIS is the author of numerous works of fiction, including the novels The Jazz Palace, A Mother's Love, and House Arrest, and of nonfiction, including the travel memoir classic Nothing to Declare: Memoirs of a Woman Traveling Alone. She is a recipient of the Rome Prize in literature and the 2016 Anisfield-Wolf Award for Fiction. Morris lives in Brooklyn, New York.
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Excerpted from "Gateway to the Moon"
Copyright © 2019 Mary Morris.
Excerpted by permission of Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group.
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Reading Group Guide
1. Were you aware of crypto-Jews before reading Gateway to the Moon? Did the novel inspire you to learn more?
2. Rachel Rothstein is a complex character. What were your first impressions of her and how did your feelings about her change over the course of the novel?
3. Discuss the portrayal of Christopher Columbus. How did your perceptions of Columbus change after reading Gateway to the Moon?
4. Themes of exploration and discovery run throughout the novel. Discuss the contrast between Miguel’s desire to explore space and Columbus’s desire to discover the New World.
5. Religious persecution separates Luis de Torres from his family and Inez Cordero from the man she loves. Do you think the cycle of persecution in the name of religion can ever be broken?
6. What were your thoughts about Nathan’s instant dislike of Miguel? Even Rachel initially suspects Miguel of kidnapping when she returns home from temple to find her sons gone. Is suspicion of people who aren’t like us in our DNA?
7. Rachel and Nathan’s rainy camping trip is a subtle turning point in their relationship. Did you appreciate its significance while you were reading the chapter or later on, as the story progressed?
8. The treatment of women in the novel is troubling, yet truthful, and their resilience is remarkable. Sofia de Torres’s story is particularly unforgettable. Is there a strong woman who changed the course of your family’s history?
9. Curiosity (or lack thereof) plays a significant role in the story. No one in Entrada de la Luna questions the lighting of candles on Friday or the fact that no one seems to eat pork. The Torres family’s past and present comes full circle due to Rachel’s curiosity. Did Gateway to the Moon make you think differently about accepting things as they are just because “they’ve always been done that way”?
10. Toward the end of the novel, MG says “We all need to know where we come from.” If Miguel had known about his heritage, and the identity of his mother, would his life have taken a different path?
11. Gateway to the Moon depicts a side of history that you probably weren’t exposed to in school. Did reading the book change the way you think about the American narrative?