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February (2010)

by Lisa Moore

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
5724636,069 (3.78)233
"...Propelled by a local tragedy, in which an oil rig sinks in a violent storm off the coast of Newfoundland, 'February' follows the life of Helen O'Mara, widowed by the accident, as she continuously spirals from the present day back to that devastating and transformative winter that persists in her mind and heart..."--Front flap.… (more)
  1. 10
    Fortune's Rocks by Anita Shreve (ominogue)
  2. 00
    The Shipping News by E. Annie Proulx (Cecilturtle)
  3. 00
    The Hatbox Letters by Beth Powning (Iudita)
    Iudita: Another story of a women's grief journey when her husband dies.
  4. 00
    Sylvanus Now by Donna Morrissey (smc01)
    smc01: Although Sylvanus Now is set in the 1950s instead of in present day Newfoundland, the characters and setting and Newfoundland way-of-life are presented in a similar manner.

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» See also 233 mentions

English (44)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (46)
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
I devoured this in two sittings. Beautiful writing, raw and poignant. ( )
  RedSonja76 | Jun 26, 2021 |
I didn't realize that I had read another Lisa Moore sometime ago until I went to put this book in so I guess that means I like Lisa Moore. I gave this book a bit higher mark than my other but I really can't compare because they are such different stories. I loved everything about this book from the pace and flow between past and present to the evolution of her characters. My usual pattern is that I love a book because I can relate to and like the protagonist and this is true about "February", I really liked Helen, the protagonist. She was true to herself and grieved in a very human way - like no-one else. She was no-nonsense and got on with her life as best she could after the disaster. The ending was perfect. ( )
  FurbyKirby | Jan 5, 2021 |
More like 3 1/2 stars, actually. It's a book less about grief than about loneliness, I think. Well-written. I did love the main character but could never tell the three daughters apart. A little bit boring and the subplot with the son made me restless. The happyish ending was not entirely earned. ( )
  GaylaBassham | May 27, 2018 |
February is an unflinching look at grief. Helen O'Mara is pregnant with her fourth child when her husband, Cal, dies in an oil rig accident. This is the story of Helen's long, arduous grief journey that spans over 25 years. Lisa Moore's description of the shock and, disbelief, followed by a pain that pierces her very core is unsentimental, which makes it all the more powerful and poignant. Life does go on for Helen, punctuated by memories of her life with Cal. She raises her children with all the attendant joys and challenges alone, and her grief is a constant, unwelcome companion as the years pass. The ending of this book brings a promise of unexpected happiness for Helen. ( )
  pdebolt | Jun 26, 2017 |
2.5 stars

In 1982, an oil rig sank off the coast of Newfoundland. This book follows Helen, now a young widow, as her husband, Cal, had been working on the oil rig. Helen is left to care for four children.

It wasn’t a boring story, but the book flipped all over the place in time, mostly between 2008 and other years, looking back. Each section did introduce the year, but it was really all over the place, I thought. I didn’t care about characters, and I didn’t believe the outcome of John’s (John is one of Helen’s children, an adult in 2008) storyline. Also, what is wrong with using quotation marks? ( )
  LibraryCin | Mar 1, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 44 (next | show all)
Ik denk dat we de wereld zo ervaren. De hele dag door worden we overvallen door beelden, door herinneringen. Mijn eigen geheugen is niet gekoppeld aan tijd. Ik heb geen idee wanneer iets gebeurd is, maar ik weet nog wel precies hoe een stof voelde en welke kleuren die had. Ik denk op die manier, ik ervaar het zo, dus ik zou het moeilijk vinden niet op die manier te schrijven. In een opschrijfboekje schrijf ik de hele dag door hoe mensen bewegen, hoe het licht binnenvalt. Die observaties kunnen doorsijpelen in mijn romans. Soms kan ik euforisch beschrijven hoe iemand een vork opraapt, een andere keer beschrijf ik zeven keer dezelfde fruitschaal omdat ik het gevoel het dat ik het nog niet goed heb. Zoals iemand anders tekent of schildert. Ik wil in zo weinig mogelijk woorden iets beschrijven dat de lezer onmiddellijk herkent. Dat is voor mij de essentie van schrijven.’
added by PGCM | editVPRO Boeken, Katja de Bruin (Sep 6, 2010)
The novel's only real weakness is that this symbolic richness doesn't extend into the lives of its second-tier characters; Helen's three daughters, in particular, are only lightly sketched...The novel's ending, too, in which Helen finally slips the knot of her grief, seems suspiciously neat from afar. But these faults can be forgiven in the context of what Moore manages to pull off: a novel which takes a moment of catastrophe and focuses not on the moment itself but on all the moments that surround it; that are altered, subtly or dramatically, by it.
February is not plot-driven: the back-and-forth chronology is meant to flesh out emotional landscapes and fill in historical details. Although Moore writes with an almost brash economy, she cannot prevent February from coming off as an overly sentimental love story....Cal was the great and only love of Helen’s life, and she spends the 25 years after his death rather tediously reliving their time together and speculating about his final moments....would have worked as a short story – a genre at which Moore excels – but its impact is ultimately diluted by the novel’s amplitude.

Is Lisa Moore a Buddhist? The tragic subject matter of her latest novel fits...I must pause here to confess that I usually find this kind of writing irritating. Novels constructed of luminous images make me feel like a dump truck is slowly tipping a load of rose petals over me. Where's the narrative? Like these other novels, February disregards conventional plot. Its present-time story line is minimal...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, I think, the point of literature and maybe even the point of being human. For these 308 pages, I was Helen, grief-struck and in love with my husband, furious with him.

With February, she has created an incredibly empathetic character in Helen, whose protective shell is always on the brink of cracking, even if her words and actions belie her vulnerability.
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.


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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lisa Mooreprimary authorall editionscalculated
Razum, KathrinTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my parents, Elizabeth and Leo Moore.
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Helen watches as the man touches the skate blade to the sharpener.
Helen had something they did not have, something they aspired to but could not name. They would have been mortified to learn it was experience. They did not want experience. Helen was sad and the young women didn’t understand the sadness but they respected it. A blow had been struck, bull’s-eye, without warning, and it had scarred Helen.
Helen did not take tranquilizers. Her children would never know it, but this was her approach to parenting: she was there for them. Her doctor had said pills, and she had said no. Helen was there, morning, noon, and night. That was her approach. She had wanted to die. She did not die.
Life barrels through; it is gone. Something rushes through. The front door slams and then a door slams in the back; something burns on the stove; birthdays, brides and caskets, babies, bankruptcy, huge strokes of luck, the trees full of ice; gone.
They sang and the reedy sound was resignation. It takes seventy or eighty years of practice to master resignation, but the old women know it is a necessary skill. (p. 12)
People who want to know about the settlement seem to think a life has a figure attached to it. A leg is worth what? An arm? A torso? What if you lose the whole husband? ... People who want to know about the money don't know what it's like on the outside. They are still on the inside. (p. 20)
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"...Propelled by a local tragedy, in which an oil rig sinks in a violent storm off the coast of Newfoundland, 'February' follows the life of Helen O'Mara, widowed by the accident, as she continuously spirals from the present day back to that devastating and transformative winter that persists in her mind and heart..."--Front flap.

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Book description
On Valentine’s Day, 1982 the oil rig The Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland. 25 years later Helen O’Hara, the widow of one of the 84 men who died, thinks back on the disaster and about her relationship with her husband. Moore’s account is both unsentimental and deeply moving.
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Average: (3.78)
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1.5 1
2 11
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3 30
3.5 21
4 76
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