In Suzanne Sutherland’s third novel, evocatively described Toronto locales serve as more than mere backdrops– they virtually breathe with life and personality all their own.
Sixteen-year-old Vic has had a very atypical childhood. The only daughter of Mickey Wayne – frontwoman of the now-defunct band Dusty Moon – Vic has spent more time on a tour bus than living in their Parkdale home.
Vic and Mickey’s relationship is hilariously cheesy and shot through with sarcasm – more akin to a best friendship than a standard mother-daughter dynamic. Mickey is still young at heart, slim in wallet, and busy figuring out her solo music career, and her parenting skills are improvisational at best.
Though Vic loves her mom, she finds herself constantly trying to escape from under Mickey’s ubiquitous shadow, which seems to loom everywhere – from run-ins with Dusty Moon admirers at the grocery store to Vic discovering her new boyfriend, Shaun, is a huge fan of her mom’s old band.
When Mickey leaves to tour overseas for the summer, memories of the bustling Dusty Moon days are revived, and Vic fears their life together will change forever. Without another option, Vic manages to establish her own life in Mickey’s absence, joining a club to create video games with her friend Lucy, and fostering her first real romantic relationship.
A bit short and simple at times, the book beats along with Vic’s growth and maturation over the summer. Though not action-packed, Under the Dusty Moon provides intimate glimpses into a mother and daughter’s unorthodox, shifting relationship set against the particular hum of the city.