The Moment of Truth
Pegasus Books Hardcover $25.95 (352pp) 978-1-68177-426-8
Bullfighting’s place in the world of performative art, as well as its morality, are discussed intelligently.
A young woman with a passion for bullfighting navigates the prejudiced world of the 1950s in this novel of growing up. Enchanted by the sport since attending a fight as a child, Kathleen accepts a deal from a matador in Mexico, leaving behind family and friends in Texas who believe her misguided. Everything appears to be stacked against her. Even when her talent begins to be recognized, her instructor, Fermin, takes all the credit. Throughout Damian Mcnicholl’s The Moment of Truth, Kathleen learns to take what’s hers and to live life on her own terms.
Alternating perspectives between Kathleen and Fermin add dimension to the plot, but it is Kathleen’s first-person chapters that drive the narrative. Fear, superstition, and a slew of other childish flaws restrict her advancement both professionally and personally; however, her youthful stubbornness ultimately redeems her. She is delivered from these pages as a full human person, three-dimensional and dynamic. A romantic subplot, too, shapes her character, and tensions surrounding the relationship refocus her.