A Solitary Walk on the Moon

Hilde Hinton

A Solitary Walk on the Moon
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A Solitary Walk on the Moon

Hilde Hinton

‘Evelyn went to the third drawer down in her dresser. It was her drawer of things past … she had an item from each of her previous lives. Evelyn was good at reinventing herself, becoming who she was going to be next, but she still kept one thing from each life. Never two.’

For Evelyn, mornings pass as mornings always do. She ticks off the jobs at the laundromat and gives welcoming smiles to those who come in. If they’ve earned one.

Evelyn knows what is going on in her community because she pays attention. She sees the weariness of the frazzled shop owners, the woman with the nasty boyfriend, the nice man with the curly-topped dog, the car parking war and the forgetful man. The community might not notice Evelyn, because it is easy to overlook the seemingly ordinary. But Evelyn is far from ordinary. She isn’t afraid to put things right, and is always ready to find lost property or lost people - even if that means breaking the rules.

For a boy with a struggling mum, and a lonely man with a smile in his eyes, Evelyn is going to make a difference, whether they like it or not. She will teach them that you don’t have to be blood to be family. And they will remind her of what comes from loving someone. It is up to Evelyn if she can pay the price.

With a joyous and unique touch, Hilde Hinton’s extraordinary novel A Solitary Walk on the Moon gives us an insight into the people we pass on the street. In detailing their rich lives, she breaks then mends our hearts with her wisdom, her insight and her unforgettable characters who remind us what can happen if we stop and say hello.

Review

A Solitary Walk on the Moon is one of those rare and lovely books that instantly transports you into its pages, where what seems a deceptively simple premise for a story unfurls into a rich and complex tapestry filled with life and emotion.

Evelyn owns a full-service laundromat on a peaceful suburban main street. She prides herself on providing excellent service to her customers and keeping to herself the many thoughts and opinions she has about all of them. Evelyn is not only keenly observant of those around her; she has a truly spectacular imagination. It is, no doubt, a key factor in the development of her friendship with young Ben, a regular customer at the laundromat with his mum June. As her care and concern for Ben and June deepens, Evelyn steps out of the comfort zone of her solitary life to engineer a network of benevolent adults, a village if you will.

Hilde Hinton’s critically acclaimed debut novel The Loudness of Unsaid Things not only made several bestseller lists in 2020, it was also everywhere and talked about by everyone. That’s a tough act to follow, but Hinton has smashed it out of the park. Reading A Solitary Walk on the Moon has been one of my most joyful experiences this year. I immediately fell in love with this quirky, rag-tag group of characters, who felt so real to me, I physically miss them. In fact, I am still thinking about them. They say it takes a village to raise a child. And it really does. But, I would suggest, it also takes a very astute villager to know which child needs the most help and why. Evelyn is that villager. And, I suspect, so is Hilde Hinton.


Tye Cattanach is a bookseller at Readings Carlton.

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