“Lisa Moore’s work is passionate, gritty, lucid and beautiful. She has a great gift.” -Anne Enright, Man Booker Prize winner
In 1982, the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland during a Valentine's Day storm. All eighty-four men aboard died. February is the story of Helen O'Mara, one of those left behind when her husband, Cal, drowns. It begins in the present-day, but spirals back again and again to the "February" that persists in Helen's mind and heart.
In her external life, Helen O'Mara cleans and does yoga and looks after her grandchildren and shakes hands with solitude. In her internal life, she continually revisits Cal. Then, one night she gets a phone call: her son John is coming home. He has made a girl pregnant after a brief, sex-filled week in Iceland. As John grapples with what it might mean to be a father, Helen comes to terms with her need to remember the dead.
Writing at the peak of her form, her steadfast refusal to sentimentalize coupled with an almost shocking ability to render the precise details of her characters' physical and emotional worlds, Lisa Moore gives us her strongest work yet. Here is a novel about complex love and cauterizing grief, about past and present and how memory knits them together, about a fiercely close community and its universal struggles, and finally about our need to imagine a future, no matter how fragile. A profound, gorgeous, heart-stopping work from one of our best writers.
House of Anansi Press, North America, June 2009
Chatto & Windus, UK
Plon, France with Boreal, Quebec
Meulenhoff, The Netherlands
Bollati Boringhieri, Italy
Edicoes 451, Spain
WINNER OF CBC'S CANADA READS 2013!
One of the New Yorker's Best Books of 2010
One of the Quill & Quire's 15 Books that Mattered in 2009
Shortlisted for the 2010 Commonwealth Writes' Prize
Finalist for the 2009 Winterset Prize
Longlisted for the 2010 Man Booker Prize
Longlisted for the 2010 ReLit Awards
Longlisted for the CBC Canada Reads Best Books of the Decade (2010)
Longlisted for the 2011 IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
"There's an economy about Moore's style that allows us to fully see how a once vibrant life can be whittled down by a pain and loneliness that is far too deep to communicate. But, by grounded her writing in the physical world, Moore shows how life's everyday tasks and encounters create a comforting continuity that eventually wears down emotional pain to allow forward movement."
"Moore offers us, elegantly, exultantly, the very consciousness of her characters. In this way, she does more than make us feel for them. She makes us feel what they feel, which is, I think, the point of literature and maybe even the point of being human."
-The Globe and Mail
"Moore's writing resembles poetry in its frequent use of sentence fragments and the way she builds a scene through the accumulation of images. She expertly captures her characters' physical surroundings in sharp-edged fragments of colour and sensation."
-Winnipeg Free Press
"It is the peculiar aptness, of Moore's images - which are the individual perceptions of an idiosyncratic mind - that fuel her astounding literary gift... Her vision of the world is bitter and joyful; angry and generous. And true. Very true."
"With February, [Moore] has created an incredibly empathetic character in Helen."
"Moore pens another triumph."
-Halifax Chronicle Herald
"Moore’s near-perfect structure keeps the story moving between memory and present-tense mourning, and the Newfoundland setting is evoked with loving detail. Look for February to make an appearance on all the important prize short lists come fall."
"If you read only one book this year, let it be February, Lisa Moore's astonishing novel."
-The Halifax Chronicle Herald
Also, listen to Lisa Moore speak with Shelagh Rogers on CBC Radio.
Lisa Moore's first collection of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness, was published in 1995 (House of Anansi Press). In 2002, she publisher her second collection of short fiction, Open, which was short-listed for the Giller Prize, shortlisted for the Winterset Award and won the Canadian Authors Association Jubilee Award for Short Stories. Lisa Moore won her second Giller Prize nomination in 2005 for her first novel Alligator, which has been published in Britain, the US, France, Quebec and Holland. Alligator was long-listed for the Orange Prize and won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Canada/Caribbean region) in 2006. Lisa Moore also edited the acclaimed Penguin Book of Contemporary Short Stories by Canadian Women (2006) and is at work on an anthology of stories about birth and her second novel, both to be published by House of Anansi Press.
She lives with her family in St. John's, Newfoundland.