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February by Lisa Moore

This was a re-read for me: it is one of the selections for Canada Reads in 2013 and I am re-reading for an event on Heavenali’s blog and I really liked this book the first time I read it so…..those are the reasons for re-reading.February - Copy

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 on the rig.  It begins in the present day, more than twenty-five years later. but spirals back again and again to the “February” that persists in Helen’s mind and heart. (from Goodreads)

The themes here are death, grief, loss, memory and survival. The writing is extremely insightful i.e. amazing wisdom demonstrated by a relatively young writer. Kudos to Lisa Moore. This will be a perennial favourite with me.

Here’s a sample of the work:

“Cal has been dead twenty-six years and she is capable sometimes, for a stretch of time, of forgetting Cal has died. She talks to her daughters every day. She is taken up with the house and her yoga. She sews wedding gowns, a kind of business venture that grew from a hobby.

I’m a young fifty-six, Helen thinks. Her grandchildren need her. She plays bridge. She took up curling but she hated the bloody curling. Her sewing gives her satisfaction.

Helen has mastered lonliness; nobody thinks of her as lonely anymore.”  Page 113

And these thoughts from Helen’s son John:

“The present is always dissolving into the past, he realized long ago. The present dissolves. It gets used up. The past is virulent and ravenous and everything can be devoured in a matter of seconds.

That’s the enigma of the present. The past has already infiltrated it; the past has set up camp, deployed soldiers with toothbrushes to scrub away all the now, and the more you think about it, the faster everything dissolves. There is no present. There was no present. Or, another way to think about it: your life could go on without you.”

This is my favourite Lisa Moore novel but she has written other novels and there is a great short story collection available.

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