… and they loved it! It’s an Editor’s Pick on Booklife (the indie arm of Publishers Weekly).  

EDITOR’S PICK: Playwright and musician Moon’s richly inventive debut novel proves as enchanting—and as darkly surprising—as the original fairytale from which it takes inspiration. Moon has structured the story as an interview, conducted in 1993, with the retired real Pinocchio, a puppet turned “real boy” turned Fascist-belting hero whose romances and adventures among real 20th century figures will quite literally change history, all as he faces a magical mystery and threat involving the Blue Lady who granted him his wish—and who has brought life to other marionettes, known as Blues. Meanwhile, rumors abound of vicious “Manikins” hunting Blues, possibly created by and working for enemies of the Blue Lady … or even that brutal new chancellor of Germany, Hitler.

Told in engaging, conversational style (“I thought of the Fascists, the Nazis, the Manikins. Evil was eating up Europe like a plague of rats.”) Pinocchio’s narrative blends revisionist historical fiction with playful fabulist elements and dead-serious stakes. It’s a fairy tale for adults that doesn’t blink at the real world’s harshness or cheapen historical atrocities when lacing in the fantastic. Moon’s riffing on the source material has thematic integrity—after Pinocchio loses a flesh-and-blood leg in the Italian army in World War I, his “papa” Gepetto fashions a wooden replacement for the one-time marionette, an accommodation that informs the rest of a life. That life that finds him exploring as a sailor and a puppeteer, experiencing love and loss, and, crucially, daring to face the dangers of fascism on the rise. Pinocchio and the “Blue underground” relishes the fight, but he’s no two-fisted pulp hero. “I wasn’t a natural-born human, and I never would be no matter how many stars I wished on,” this wounded hero declares. But he’s also, in his ways, as human as it comes, as Moon’s fantasy showcases the heart it takes to stand up for what’s best in us all as that evil threatens to swallow the world. Takeaway: The surprising story of Pinocchio taking on fascism, written with polish and playful power.”