Botanist Alfred Homer is invited on a road trip by his parents’ friend, Professor Morgan Bruno, who wants company as he tries to unearth the story of the mysterious poet John Skennen. But this is no ordinary road trip.
Deceptively simple, and almost overpoweringly rich ... Alexis handles the material with a skill and adroitness readers have come to expect from him, along with a subtextual complexity that belies the straightforwardness of the surface narrative. The novel can be read whichever way the reader is most comfortable: the narrative has all the twists and turns, surprises and character development that make for a fulfilling read, while a deeper reading, engaging with the philosophical and social questions raised by the text, provides a much more powerful level of engagement ... the days I spent reading the novels of the Quincunx were among the most pleasurable days of reading in my memory.
What’s so enjoyable about Days by Moonlight is that it turns the act of reading into traveling, and traveling into a constant swaying between wonder and bewilderment where travelers and readers alike are held in balance mainly by the illusion that what they experience is the world and who they are is being part of it ... Maybe the engaging fluidity of Alexis’ writing has to do with his interest in telling the truth, and with the fact that telling the truth has and always will be a form of traveling—from very common places to extremes and back again ... Through his writing André Alexis makes clear that certain experiences can only be brought into existence on the floating road to fiction, even when his language tricks us into ingesting these experiences as if they were real facts ... What is so gripping about the way André Alexis describes these events is his way of showing that it is not just one 'peculiar' event organized by one group of people, but that the last parade is only the tip of what came before, the very last layering onto something that keeps growing naturally, sickly out of severely contaminated soil.
[A] darkly funny exploration of mourning and Canadian identity, containing a touch of the surreal ... invokes biting satire as they visit small Ontario towns where black inhabitants communicate only through sign language, residents celebrate heritage by burning historically accurate homes, and an attempt to honor indigenous peoples in a parade flounders over white people’s attempts to be politically correct ... This imaginative travelogue will amuse readers even as it raises weightier issues.