February

Paperback | February 1, 2010

byLisa Moore

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Winner of Canada Reads 2013 and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize

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.

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, before we truly come home. This is a profound, gorgeous, heart-stopping work from one of our best writers.

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From the Publisher

Winner of Canada Reads 2013 and longlisted for the Man Booker Prize 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...

Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of February and Alligator. February won CBC's Canada Reads competition, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year, and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. Alligator was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (Canada...

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:320 pages, 8 × 5.25 × 0.73 inPublished:February 1, 2010Publisher:House Of Anansi Press IncLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0887849628

ISBN - 13:9780887849626

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Reviews

Rated 5 out of 5 by from Tradegy at Sea Lisa Moore: February It is joyful to find a book of new, young author, which is professionally written, many faceted, compassionate, ardent and truthful. From the beginning it overpowers the reader by its beautiful language and attractive characters. So, it is not true that great books are no longer written. Also, mastery and wisdom are still here. I gave 5 points to the book, even though the ending disappointed me. Not the outcome, it was a given, but its length and repetitions. Less is sometimes more. It is obvious that the sinking of the Ocean Ranger changed the lives and influenced the fate of all the heroes, and many other people besides, the authoress notwithstanding. So, many problems were overlooked. It may happen again. And like a stone thrown in the water, the aftermath is spreading, spreading in space and in time. I just think that, considering that the author said it all in the book, the ending could have been calmer.
Date published: 2015-11-11
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Brilliant I just came online to look up more books by Lisa Moore when I came upon the reviews so far for February.. and the fact the average at the moment is 2*s. Tragic!! I read this book last summer. I had just finished a breezy, wordy Kate Morton novel and the sparse specificity of February was a shock to the system. Lisa Moore clears all the chatter away and focuses deep in on the truth, on the moment. I am a reader who has high standards for my literature; I'm turned off by bestseller-type novels. At the same time, there must be a great story with the great writing. I only get to read a few books a year and I want them to be amazing. This book remains with me a year later. Sometimes it's difficult to choose a novel you know will be heartbreaking. Who wants to be heartbroken on their vacation!? But if you don't mind some pain with your awe in a perfectly-written moment, you will enjoy this book. :)
Date published: 2015-07-11
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Nothing Happens This book was chosen by my book club. It took everything in my power to finish it. Everything. Nothing happens. Nothing. I kept optimistically starting chapters, hoping for something to redeem the effort I was putting into reading it. I was unsuccessful. Although written extremely well, the lack of any interesting plot points, for me, deserves the 1 star rating I have given. As an aside, more than one person in said book club had the same issue I did, so I know it is not just me.
Date published: 2015-07-01
Rated 5 out of 5 by from February For a reader who is familiar with the history of the tragedy, especially if you inhabited St. John's during this time, Lisa has woven a tapestry of visual and emotional fibres that raises the flatness of the fabric into full-on 3 dimensional life that truly resonates.
Date published: 2015-05-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from February I really found the story interesting although sometimes the flittting back and forth in time was confusing. Hopeful ending after lots of heartache.
Date published: 2015-04-05
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting but lacking I liked the story but I found the writing detached. I've noticed this style with some Canadian writers, so maybe it's just me.
Date published: 2014-05-21
Rated 4 out of 5 by from February A sad and somewhat depressing read but very well written.
Date published: 2014-02-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from February An excellent account from the perspective of a wife of one of the men who perished in the sinking of the Ocean Ranger. Moore takes you on a lifelong, intimate journey of this woman as she raises her family and deals with everything life has to throw at her and her own thoughts over a period of 30 years. Heartbreaking loss described in detail and oh so very real and easy to relate to!
Date published: 2014-01-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from February by Lisa Moore An absorbing novel, depicting a family impacted by the Ocean Ranger disaster off Newfoundland. Main character is sympathetic, absorbing and evocative of deep reflection. Worthwhile.
Date published: 2013-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from February Moore captures the nuances of the Newfoundland character quite like Donna Morrissey. Great read.
Date published: 2013-07-04
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Flat with a beautiful narrative This book was a challenge to read. The story was slow and not very interesting. I felt I was always waiting for something to happen and nothing ever did. I hoped for an epic ending but I was disappointed with something predictable. The author is talented but needs to add some spice.
Date published: 2013-06-10
Rated 1 out of 5 by from February I don't want to give a negative review to a book about the 1982 Ocean Ranger disaster. I don't want to appear insensitive to the people affected by that tragic event. The families and friends of those lost have my sympathies. But I really didn't like this book. Lisa Moore writes beautifully descriptive passages. She writes beautifully descriptive passages about scattered, disconnected and, frankly, not very interesting events. Finishing this book was a chore, and I only did so because I had to give a full report to my book club. I procrastinated about picking it up again every time I put it down. I groaned when I finally succumbed to the need to plough through it. I impatiently skimmed through the tangential ramblings of the narrator. The main character, Helen, loses her husband in the Ocean Ranger disaster. She has three children at home and a fourth on the way. Understandably, she's shell-shocked, and this book is the story of how she picks up the pieces of her shattered life. The theme resonated with other members of my book club—a single mother and a widow—who felt that Moore had done an admirable job of capturing the emotional journey of people suddenly left to cope on their own. I agree, but Moore captures it, perhaps, too well. Passages rife with non sequiturs and leaps between topics effectively represent the scattered thinking of someone in shock, and I would have liked that approach, if Moore had used it only for the parts of the book that take place immediately after the disaster. But Moore uses this style through the whole book, and it's tiresome. Moore is so busy describing random events and the characters' inconsequential encounters with strangers (that do nothing to advance the story) that she leaves unfinished the story lines we readers are hungry for. We get a lengthy passage on dolphin training, but we don't know what happened to Gabrielle, the baby born in the womb at the time of her father's death. We get an entire short chapter on how Helen and her husband were once on opposite sides of a tug of war, but we're left hungry for more details on the intriguing story line of her son's job skirting safety regulations for oil companies. The whole book was haphazard and exasperating. Too many self-indulgent descriptions of details that don't advance the story. Too many leaps between topics within the same passage. Too many leaps back and forth and all around in time. Oh, and I'm going to send Lisa Moore some quotation marks for Christmas.
Date published: 2013-04-17
Rated out of 5 by from I have to agree with Lisa - I am really struggling to finish this book. I love the story idea, I love the characters, I love the setting but the story lacks flow and is very disjointed. I was very interested to understand the sinking of the Ocean Ranger and how it affect the lives that were involved, unfortunately this book falls sort of delivering the experience.
Date published: 2013-04-08
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Not bad. A fast read, pleasant enough. Kind of drags at certain points.
Date published: 2013-03-22
Rated 5 out of 5 by from February Excellent story, well written, enjoyed every minute I spent with it...Thank you Lisa Moore
Date published: 2013-03-18
Rated 4 out of 5 by from February by Lisa Moore The book is very well written the history is told going back and forward in time. The protagonist is well defined, her suffering is clear to grasp. The memories of the husband are amazing and realistic s. I recommend the book that was based on a real tragedy in 1982 about the Ocean Ranger sinking and death of the 84 men working on it
Date published: 2013-03-18
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Quiet perfection There are a great many Canadian authors I love. Lisa Moore ranks high on this list. She captures the quiet humble grief of one woman and yet evokes emotion so palpable I "became" Helen. True to Canadian core values of understanding that tragedy cannot get in the way of duty Helen does all that is asked of her. She simply gets on with the job of living and she repeats the job until she really believe she can do it on her own. Thank you Lisa Moore for writing a character with little fanfare who, like so many,who face trauma with grace.
Date published: 2013-02-22
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Profoundly Canadian It is nice to read a book set in Canada where the characters are so distinctly Canadian. Loved the book. Loss, grief,and moving forward.
Date published: 2013-02-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Profoundly Canadian It is nice to read a book set in Canada where the characters are so distinctly Canadian. Loved the book. Loss, grief,and moving forward.
Date published: 2013-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from February This year's Canada Reads pick and I'm glad it was, because I wouldn't have read it otherwise. One of the judge's said the sisters' relationship was inconsistent and didn't ring true. I say he doesn't know squat.
Date published: 2013-02-19
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Makes February More Meaningful Lisa Moore writes beautifully and easily describing life, love and the routine in St John's Newfoundland. The novel goes back and forth between 2008 and the Time the Ocean Ranger sank. I have to admit I found the 2008 story more compelling, but the past obviously s Shapes the present. Read it in February 2013 and finished it on the day Canada Reads started.
Date published: 2013-02-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Swept away, but never forgotten... Loss of a loved one is always the hardest. A wife loses her husband, she reflects on her life on how she struggled to make it each day, each hour; but also reflects on her life with four kids and how she parented. To know that she lost her husband, but never forgot him and how she dealt with getting on in her life (the present) and challenge of the past haunting her and her ways of accepting what cards she was dealt.
Date published: 2013-02-06
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Not for me I couldn't finish this book. It was all over the place. It was a good idea for a story, but just not good writing, in my opinion.
Date published: 2012-07-05

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Editorial Reviews

"...exquisitely mindful...All is suffering, certainly, but it's just as true that all is also pretty funny. Moore gets this. She gets life...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 the point of literature and maybe even the point of being human." - Globe and Mail"...here is writing that examines the richness of the everyday with an incredibly keen eye and renders it without sentimentality but with profound empathy...Like standing in the February winter wind, reading this novel is harrowing, almost painful, but once you step out of it, you appreciate the warmth in your world that much more." - matrix"...here is writing that examines the richness of the everyday with an incredibly keen eye and renders it without sentimentality but with profound empathy." - matrix"...Moore has established with her second novel a distinctive voice in Canadian literature. Language in Moore's capable hands is often deceptively spare, revealing for the careful reader layers of acute insight. Her writing in February is characterized by a raw, stream-of-consciousness intensity..." - Literary Review of Canada"...Moore, whose previous novel, Alligator (2006), won a Commonwealth Writers' Prize, renders sensations with the precision of a Vermeer." - Booklist"A solid, unflinching, unsentimental study of grief...Moore's descriptive powers, her enviable ability to highlight defining elements of character (either individual or societal) by making perceptive observations, are, as always, in evidence." - Daily Telegram"Although Moore does a good job of depicting remembered incidents the novel is best in its intimate rendering of thought and feeling." - Express"An intense and absorbing read." - Coventry Telegraph"Canadian writer Lisa Moore's second novel solidifies her reputation as a gifted writer whose prose exhibits an urgency, precision, and sensitivity worthy of the legacy of Virginia Woolf." - The World"Complex yet clear, compelling and profound, the style is a joy to read and Lisa Moore's story-spinning gift is great. Her people become our people, her richly described settings our own." - Atlantic Books Today"It has been a joy indeed to discover Lisa Moore. Despite her great success with a previous novel and two collections of short fiction, February is the first book I have read by this talented Canadian writer. I shall soon be reading the rest." - Gabriel Weston, Daily Telegraph"Lisa Moore is an astonishing writer. She brings to her pages what we are always seeking in fiction and only find the best of it: a magnetizing gift for revealing how the earth feels, looks, tastes, smells, and an unswerving instinct for what's important in life." - Richard Ford"Lisa Moore's work is passionate, gritty, lucid and, beautiful. She has a great gift." - Anne Enright"Loneliness is hard to write about without become maudlin or cliched. But Moore never errs on the side of sentimentality...There's an economy in Moore's style that shows us how a once vibrant life can be whittled down by pain and loneliness. But, by grounding her writing in the physical world, Moore shows how life's everyday tasks and encounters create a comforting continuity that allows forward movement." - National Post"Luminous." - More"Moore deftly weaves together the present...and the past, evoking memory and grief in pitch-perfect detail." - New Yorker"Moore never errs on the side of sentimentality...Loneliness is hard to write about without becoming maudlin or cliched. But Moore seems to understand this very human facility, describing the unconscious ways we sometimes try to avoid feeling overwhelmed by it...Moore shows how life's everyday tasks and encounters create a comforting continuity that eventually wears down emotional pain to allow forward movement...You'll be surprised at this novel's ability to uplift." - Ottawa Citizen"Moore pens another triumph...emotional tension, coupled with an acute eye for regional setting and dialect, has long been a hallmark of Moore's work...the hauntingly beautiful February, is likely to turn some heads and hearts as well." - Chronicle Herald"Moore's writing resembles poetry...She expertly captures her characters' physical surroundings in sharp-edged fragments of colour and sensation...Helen comes across as a perfectly ordinary woman...But that's what [February] is about: a perfectly ordinary woman whose life is profoundly changed by an extraordinary event. This is a marvellous book." - Winnipeg Free Press"Soaring." - Chatelaine"Soaring." - Chatelaine"There is no one else in the country who can touch Lisa Moore's elegant rendering of language...She's distinctive, and what she does with language is nothing less than dazzling, and then there is her uncanny ability to inhabit every pore and sinew of her endearingly human characters...What she does with language is pure art." - Salty Ink"This mesmerising book is full of tears, and is a graceful meditation on how to survive life's losses." - Marie Claire"...a stark tale of cauterizing grief, one that left me spellbound in admiration...a well-conceived work of the imagination..." - Sun Times (Owen Sound)"[February] is what great prose should be...a work of art...a moving narrative of risk, love, loss, and surviving..." - Newfoundland Quarterly