February by Lisa Moore is the Book Club pick for February. Released in 2009, it recently won the 2013 Canada Reads competition on CBC, championed by comedian Trent McClellan, who argued that it is a book for all Canadians, despite its very specific subject matter of a widow dealing with the loss of her husband, who died when the Ocean Ranger sank off the coast of Newfoundland in 1982.
After reading the novel, I find myself in agreement with McClellan. Helen's grief and experience following the 1982 tragedy is indeed a story that all Canadians should read. As she wrestles with her own understanding of the events of February 14, 1982, and the 26 years in between then and now, Helen presents a version of Canada and Canadians that will resonate with every reader. She recalls her marriage, how she met her husband, when her children were born, how her children handled the loss of their father and, heartbreakingly, how the Ocean Ranger came to sink and what Cal, her husband, might have been doing at that exact moment. Moore writes these passages carefully and poignantly and it is impossible to read without feeling a small piece of the heartbreak that Helen feels.
Moore's writing is as beautiful and brilliant as ever. She tells the story well, revealing pieces at a time, mimicking the way that Helen resolves her own understanding of the accident that killed her husband.
A great read, and in the future, I will read everything that Moore writes without hesitation.
4 hours ago