Friday, July 12, 2013

Novel Thoughts (#bookaday 8)

When I read novels, I start a running narration in my head and suddenly life gets a lot more interesting.  The narration tends to adopt the style of whoever I happen to be reading at the moment.  Right now, it's Lisa Moore.  She has, as my husband observed, glancing over the pages as I took a moment to rest my eyes and return to reality on the airplane, a tendency towards long sentences that can themselves constitute a paragraph.

Lately, I've been feeling guilty about reading novels and trust me, it has nothing to do with their contents.  Well, not exactly.  I feel like I'm being too indulgent with my time, when there's much more I could be doing or learning.  I'm not sure where this idea came from, because it's absolute nonsense.  The world of book lovers continually shares the benefits of reading novels via social media.  I've been hoarding these bits of information in an attempt to quell my guilt.  Like a recent article about how reading novels makes us better thinkers--more accepting of ambiguity and less likely to make snap decisions.

But, back to Lisa Moore and Alligator.  I read February this past February (fitting, no?) since it was nominated for Canada Reads 2013...and I discovered another Canadian author to add to my list of True Patriot Loves.  No surprise, Moore's novel won the competition.  When I found her book Alligator amidst the hoard of novels at the Elora Book Sale, I snapped it up with excitement (and maybe a bit of reptilian instinct) and I've actually been putting off reading it until summer vacation, the way some people save a bottle of wine to open at just the right moment.

This novel explores the sometimes dull, sometimes heart-wrenching, sometimes beautiful agony of the "you're-all-I-have" relationships that tether us to time, place and circumstance.  In the same storytelling style as February, Moore's narration is delivered through several characters, their story threads interwoven and intersecting even if they are oblivious to it.  This novel is less about plot and more about character and will have you contemplating relationships and how it's possible both to stay and run away, to both grieve the loss of those existing right in front of you and be ever in the presence of the dead.

(Was that vague enough for you?  ;)  Long live the novel.  Let ambiguity reign.)

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