February

by Lisa Moore

I kept thinking about the famous Salvador Dalí painting called “The Persistence of Memory” while I was reading Lisa Moore’s marvelous new novel, February, which could easily be subtitled “The Persistence of Grief.”  Moore, who lives with her family in Newfoundland, takes a historical event as the foundation block of her novel: the 1982 sinking of the oil rig Ocean Ranger in a huge storm and the drowning deaths of its entire 84 member crew.  Moore explores, often in fragmentary or elliptical and always in evocative language, the effects of that terrible occurrence on the lives of Helen, whose husband Cal’s death by drowning leaves her a young widow with three small children.  Moore takes us back and forth in Helen’s life, from the early years of her marriage to the present, from the immediate sense of being struck down by unbearable grief to her constant awareness of having to move through the days without Cal’s presence in her life.   This is a book for those who enjoyed getting into the head of the eponymous Olive Kitteridge in Elizabeth Strout’s collection of linked stories, or those who appreciated the writing of Christine Schutt’s All Souls.  I loved February:  it was moving (but not soppy) and insightful.   When I finished it, I went back to find Moore’s two earlier fiction titles—a novel,  Alligator, and a short story collection,  Degrees of Nakedness.  I’m really looking forward to reading them.

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4 Comments

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4 responses to “February

  1. Robyn Pforr Ryan

    I’m going to track this one down. It sounds wonderful from your post, and I loved the two Olive Kitteridge and All Souls!

    Nancy, I’m reading and LOVING the Postmistress. I feel like I’m in that time period and she has an interesting and effective way of working with three female main characters.

  2. pearlspicks

    Yes, I am so looking forward to all the rest of her stuff. I will start with Open. Best, Nancy

  3. Re February by Lisa Moore. As well as alligator and Degrees of Nakedness you should read her fabulous second story collection Open.

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