Book review of FEBRUARY by Lisa MooreLisa Moore’s second novel, February, got some good reviews when it first came out including The Globe and Mail, Quill & Quire, and shortlisted for the 2009 Commonwealth Writers’ Prize.

In February 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.

From the publisher, House of Anansi Press

The story centers around a Newfoundland disaster in 1982: the collapse of the oil rig, Ocean Ranger. Being born in 1988 and from the opposite end of Canada (learning BC history in school as well as general Canadian history), I wasn’t familiar with this horrific accident.

Lisa Moore, who is from St. John’s, Newfoundland was quoted in a 2009 article in the Toronto Star saying that, “Even though it was 27 years ago, it is still close to the surface for people. … In Newfoundland, it is a sacred topic. And it’s still very raw.”

Helen is an astonishing character who has lived through the most horrible thing imaginable to me: the loss of your life partner. The book is very striking without being a sob-fest. You really feel Helen’s pain, see her emotional distance after the disaster, and heal with her through her life. The story is a very personal journey for Helen and her family, and it isn’t a particularly plot-driven or linear story. February is all about the characters and their struggle through the disaster of the Ocean Ranger and their life following it.

Extras for February by Lisa Moore: