Picks and Pans Review: Iona Moon

updated 07/12/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 07/12/1993 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Melanie Rue Thon

When they're in the backseat of a Chevy with Iona Moon, the boys from White Falls, Idaho, don't mind dirty fingernails and the smell of cow dung. This bony "bad girl" from the potato fields of Kila Flats is the narrative voice of Thon's intensely erotic novel—a novel that blows apart the brutal and hopeless life of a small town in the '60s as powerfully as Vietnam vet Everett Fry blows out his brains in the opening chapter.

Iona Moon lives in a world without choices, where "the distance between girlhood and old age was painful and brief." In poignant and beautiful prose, the author presents Iona's thoughts, her dreams, her conversations with ghosts, as we watch Iona bury her mother, leave school, run away from home and return to confront her past.

Thon, author of Meteors in August and Girls in the Grass, burrows into the heart of Iona Moon to give us a rare glimpse of a young girl's triumphant coming of age in a landscape that offers no sympathy. (Poseidon, $21)

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