This book languished in a stack on a to-be-read shelf for almost two years, squashed between a Julian Barnes below and some short story anthology above.
It was 31 years ago on Valentine's Day that the Ocean Ranger oil rig sank off the coast of Newfoundland, killing all aboard.
31 years later, on Valentine's Day yesterday, February
won the Canada Reads award. (Oh crap, now the masses will like it, it will be popular, and more often than not that means the writing sucks, but jeez, it's Lisa Moore, she's a good writer. She has cred!) I kept putting it off, fearing the mawkishness that was sure to fill the pages of a book about a widow of one of the dead crewmen. But that's not how it turned out. This isn't about wallowing in grief and outrage. It rises above that. The narrative skips around in time, both directly and indirectly as memories and dreams. This seems ideal for this type of story, because the present is so pregnant with the past. Very slowly the widow Helen begins to weave the future into her existence.
The structure, the architecture were great, but what I enjoyed the most was Moore's expressive prose. The effortless hyper-realism of her descriptions brought it to life, and overarching it all were quiet wisdoms and simple but profound insights. Lovely.