About the Book

“Bailey Martin is a magnificent creation . . . Her story begins and ends on the same river. It forms a perfect coda, a connection of a thousand dots in the circle, and it completes the restless journey of Bailey as though in fulfillment of a great prophesy—thunderstruck and dolphin-haunted and a significant work of art.”

— Pat Conroy

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Untying the Moon, the debut novel from southern storyteller ELLEN MALPHRUS, is a vibrant tale of self discovery, approaching the realms of myth and lore.

Bailey Martin is in perpetual motion–a child of the South Carolina lowcountry tides, being pulled to and from a reckoning with destiny. A marine biologist by training and an artist by dedication and talent, Bailey is a woman of contradictions, at once a free-spirited adventurer giving deeply of herself to environmental causes and familial loyalties but also consumed by primal, isolating appetites and dangerous attractions. Restless and troubled, Bailey chafes at her existence, becoming uneasy in her success, her life, and her own skin. Untying the Moon, the debut novel from southern storyteller Ellen Malphrus, is a vibrant tale of self-discovery, approaching the realms of myth and lore as readers ride shotgun with Bailey in Blue Ruby, her ’67 Skylark convertible, from Manhattan down the eastern seaboard, from coastal Carolina to the Alaskan wilderness and back again, all in search of the embrace of love and–finally–of home.

Recalling the writings of James Dickey, Jack Kerouac, Jack London, Pat Conroy, Mary Alice Monroe, and Lee Smith, Untying the Moon explores the redemptive powers of home, nature, creation, and storytelling itself. With prose that ebbs and flows from the lyrical and lush to the staccato and sparse, Malphrus’s novel is rich with classical allusions and regional folklore, the enrapturing beauty of its settings, a racially and geographically diverse charismatic cast, and all the mystery and magic of fate.

New York Times best-selling writer and Story River Books editor-at-large Pat Conroy provides a foreword to the novel.