The Vanishing Moon

Of Song and Water is a tale of singlehanded sailors and jazz musicians, of working-class dreams blighted by family duty, personal betrayals, and the untold violence between fathers and sons.

The Vanishing Moon

A Barnes & Noble Discover Great New Writers selection and winner of ForeWord Magazine’s Gold Medal in Literary Fiction.

Opening in the Great Depression and moving forward through five decades to the fall of Richard Nixon, The Vanishing Moon chronicles two generations of a working-class family.

Reviews | Purchase

“An ambitious effort that heralds the arrival of an intriguing talent…. Achieves the quiet beauty of William Maxwell’s finest work—generous, episodic, elegiac but not sentimental…”

The Nation

“Coulson’s richly textured narrative abounds in passion and wonder…. His real subject is not loss but the art of losing, the infinitely varied ways in which people try to live in the wake of loss.”

The San Diego Union-Tribune

“Assured and purposeful…Coulson infuses each surprising and evocative moment with great feeling and mythic resonance…creating a somberly beautiful family saga.”

—Donna Seaman, Booklist

“A beautifully told story about family bonds, love, loss, and the power of memory over our lives.” 

The Bloomsbury Review

“A poignant look at working-class life…and the collision of personality with history.”

The Dallas Morning News

“Will remind readers of classic authors like Steinbeck and Zola, or perhaps such contemporary masters of wounded male pride and self-doubt as Raymond Carver and Russell Banks.”

The Buffalo News

“Joseph Coulson chronicles the American family with enormous intensity. His sense of history is vast, his sense of detail fine. Coulson is the ferryman to that America just beyond—tragic and wondrous.”

John Reed

“This novel captures the collective memory of an American working-class family, with all its pain and poetry. In its dramatic sweep, the book becomes nothing less than a history of the twentieth century in the United States. Joseph Coulson is what we used to call (with apologies to the vegetarians) a meat and potatoes storyteller: clear, vivid, big-hearted. So many unheard voices speak and sing through his voice. Listen.” 

Martín Espada


The Vanishing Moon
English Edition
Abnehmender Mond (German TVM)
German Edition
The Vanishing Moon Wespieser Edition
French Edition