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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Saturday, January 15, 2011


I love Lisa Moore. Her first novel, Alligator, was a delightful surprise  and I liked February even more. Helen's husband, Cal, died when the Ocean Ranger oil rig sank off the coast of Newfoundland on Valentine's Day in 1982. Most Canadians over the age of 50 remember this tragedy. 84 crew members perished. We all mourned for a bit then filed it away. Helen, left behind with four children, can't put it away.
The novel darts back and forth over thirty years. She raises her children as best she can, she enjoys her grandchildren, she sews wedding dresses for others, she tries internet dating without success. She is lonely. Another February is coming up in 2008. John, Helen's son, who has avoided deep emotional involvement is confronted with the imminent birth of his child, the product of a week long fling in Iceland. He doesn't know what to do about it and turns to his mother. Helen welcomes this new life and she manages at last to come to terms with Cal's horrible death.
Sadness permeates this novel. There is no real plot, just vignettes of grief. At the end there's a sense that Helen has paid her dues and that she's ready to move forward. Good for her, I say.

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