February by Lisa Moore


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

Details February

Release DateJun 15th, 2009
PublisherHouse of Anansi Press
GenreFiction, Cultural, Canada, Historical, Historical Fiction

Reviews February

  • Marita
    “THE OCEAN RANGER* began to sink on Valentine’s Day, 1982, and was gone by dawn the next day. Every man on it died.” Helen O’Mara’s husband Cal was one of the victims, and she is devastated by his death. “How to put into words the tumult of pleasure her life had been; how to say she had lost something big and was left with a hole in the middle of her chest and the wind whistling through.” She has to forge a new life for herself and...
  • Bonnie
    I have been waiting for a new book by Lisa Moore and this did not disappoint. I read slowly right from the start, so that I could absorb each essential phrase, to appreciate how one sentence moved to the next, to marvel at a particular paragraph, or to pause at the end of a subsection to reflect on the way Lisa Moore had crafted a scene. February is a fictional story about how one Newfoundland family of five deals with the loss of husband and fat...
  • Connie
    The oil rig "Ocean Ranger" began to sink off the coast of Newfoundland on Valentine's Day 1982. The rig was gone, and every man on it perished in the stormy disaster by the next day. Helen O'Mara was left with three children, and a fourth on the way, when her beloved Cal died."Somehow Helen had picked up the idea that there was such a thing as love, and she had invested fully in it. She had summoned everything she was, every little tiny scrap of ...
  • Indrani
    I tried.I wanted to like this book. My goal this year was to read each of the five "Canada Reads" choices, so that I could follow along with the CBC debates. These were supposed to be quintessential Canadian novels - the cream of the crop.Perhaps I made a mistake in trying to read this during February itself - the most grey, depressing time of year here. Maybe in the summer I will try again. In the meantime though, there was so much I just could ...
  • Arlene
    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 w...
  • Brad
    Some may say that this is a book about death or life or love, but for me this is a book about the "ifs" and the "whens."The plot is irrelevant because whatever the plot is it is only the plot because of the perspective from which the story is told. It is a story of moments, the ifs and whens of one woman's life, and those moments, unrelated but for the woman who experienced them, are the tale.February is a novel of fragments. And in those fragmen...
  • Claire McAlpine
    Brilliantly constructed vision of one woman's grief in the wake of her husbands death, when the oil rig he works on sinks into the sea, leaving her regnant and with three children to raise.Interspersed with her stages of grief, is the call from her son John, flying back from Tasmania via New York bearing news that he is to become a father for the first time, a role he has spent all his adult years avoiding, until a chance week in Iceland with Jan...
  • Marc-Antoine
    I really connected with this story, the writing was fantastic and I was completely drawn in.
  • Friederike Knabe
    "Solitude, she thinks, is a time-release drug... it enters the system slowly and you can become addicted. It's not an addiction, it is a craft."On Valentine's Day 1982, the Ocean Ranger, an assumed-to-be unsinkable oil rig, sank during a vicious storm out in the North Atlantic. Thirty years later the tragic events of that night still resonate deeply with the affected communities of Newfoundland. Families lost fathers, brothers, sons and lovers du...
  • Cheryl
    This book languished in a stack on a to-be-read shelf for almost two years, squashed between a Julian Barnes below and some short story anthology above. It was 31 years ago on Valentine's Day that the Ocean Ranger oil rig sank off the coast of Newfoundland, killing all aboard.31 years later, on Valentine's Day yesterday, February won the Canada Reads award. (Oh crap, now the masses will like it, it will be popular, and more often than not that me...
  • Sandra
    FEBRUARY is a story of real people - people who love, laugh, argue,shop at WalMart and Value Village and raise their children in the bestway that they know how.FEBRUARY is also a story of loss and grief - grief that is not of themoment, but rather of the decades. It is the story of threegenerations: Helen O*Mara and her husband Cal who perished with theOcean Ranger, their four children - John, Cathy, Lulu and Gabrielle -and their children.The nov...
  • David Yoon
    In February Lisa Moore drives me to distraction with her dialog. No one has conversations. Words are just launching pads to daytime reveries and thoughtful meanderings."That'll stain if you don't get at it."Helen loved her kids. Maybe John best of all. He was far flung and wide ranging ...and here follows a page and a half recounting of a failed attempt to put together a crib and a story of a dog running in the wet sand. "Maybe a little water wil...
  • Jocelyn
    I am an unabashed fangirl for all things Newfoundland (fussy weather, knitting traditions, and a diet of rum, potatoes, and bologna? Marry me Newfoundland!) and when I'm Queen everyone will have to visit St. John's at least once. I loved this book and I hope more people read it.February caught my attention before it was nominated for Canada Reads in 2013. I'm sorry It took me so long to read it. It's a sweet story of family who lost their patriar...
  • C.J. Carmichael
    This story swept me away and touched me very deeply. It was chosen as a Canada Reads selection by CBC radio and that was why I picked it up.As a Canadian in my fifties, of course I remember when the oil rig Ocean Ranger sank in 1982. This book takes the tragedy to the personal level and examines the subsequent life of a widow who is left to raise her four children after her husband dies.Moore describes loneliness: "She is as alone and cold and ob...
  • Esil
    This book was beautifully written and I'm always happy to read a book set in Newfoundland. Having said that, there was something about the story that felt a bit flat. I enjoyed reading it but did not love it.
  • Diane S ☔
    review to follow.
  • Andrew Smith
    Lisa Moore’s ‘February’ is not unlike listening to a particularly evocative piece of music. Each sentence is exquisitely composed with exact, appropriate words lined up in the perfect order. Her writing is beautiful on the reader's "ear" so to speak, and the images it calls forth are vivid and detailed. The novel has no particular sequenced narrative but repeatedly takes the reader from era to era, and back again, in protagonist, Helen Omar...
  • Allyson
    I may have rated this book more highly had she not used the strange chapter jumps or whatever they may be called. I can't help but think it is an author weakness to do so as unable to maintain a narrative momentum otherwise. I am now reading her 2005 novel Alligator so may be unfair to compare. Although it also jumps between separate characters, repeatedly. Am only just started and may sign off without finishing if it is too annoying. There are t...
  • Peachy
    Had I not found out about February through the CBC's Canada Reads top 40 Canadian books list, it is doubtful that I ever would have picked it up. I'm not much in to slow-paced books without a strong storyline or intense characters. But, because of its rave reviews, and an understanding that it is important to break custom once in a while, I gave it a go. Although I'm not likely to recommend it to anyone that is not grieving a profound loss, I'd s...
  • Linda
    This book held me prisoner, or should I say captive. Not often (if ever) has one book raised such emotions. It was like the feeling in the pit of your stomach after you have had a good cry, but are still in the throws of the upset.Helen is 30, has three children and is expecting another baby but is not aware of it yet. Her husband died in an terrible storm while working off the coast of Newfoundland.The writing is uniquely different. I couldn't p...
  • Jean Kelly
    A story of Helen whose husband is killed in a rigging accident and how she raises her 4 children alone - great characters. Throughout the story, Helen keeps going over and over in her mind what might have been her husband's last moments. Really resonates with all the loses we have been touched by since 9/11.
  • Krista
    I don't remember the sinking of the Ocean Ranger off Newfoundland in 1982, but I was only 14 at the time (such a self-involved age). I had, just the year before, gone on a band exchange with a girl from St. John's, and she and her family were warm and funny and generous people. They didn't seem to have that much, but as they drove me around, proudly showing off the city that they loved, it was apparent that they had everything that mattered. With...
  • Karen Barber
    In ‘February’ we follow Helen at various points in her life. We see her in the present, in her role as grandmother, as a young woman and as a wife whose husband is one of the many killed when the oil rig he is working on collapses.It felt like rummaging through one of those memory boxes. Some recollections were more vivid than others, but they combine to form a picture of one woman and her life. What was evident throughout this story is that ...
  • Candice Walsh
    I love Lisa Moore's writing. Her prose is stunning. But it's funny--so many of the characters are so clearly defined in this book, I could almost reach out and touch them. Like Barry. But Helen...I find her hard to wrap my head around, and I don't feel like I ever really got to know her. Still, great read.
  • Gail
    Even though I JUST finished this novel, I feel like I read it in a fog of some sort. Kind of like, have you ever answered your phone half asleep and had a five-minute conversation with someone, only to remember a vague outline of what you just discussed? Where I give Lisa Moore three stars is for the story itself. I feel as though she got so caught up in the WAY she was telling it (jumping back and forth between character narratives, hopping arou...
  • Daniel
    This novel follows the life of a fictitious O'Mara family whose husband/father (Cal) was lost in the Ocean Ranger tragedy of 1982. The majority of the novel is from the perspective of the widow (Helen), but some of it is from the perspective of the son. The story of this family is quite compelling, and it draws you in.I really wanted to like this book, but I just couldn't get past the writing style. I'd pick it up, suffer through a chapter or two...
  • Peter
    "Have you ever tried to figure out the difference between what you are ... and what you have to become?"This is just one of many questions and puzzles that Lisa Moore presents her readers in February. For the most part, this book is an enjoyable read. If you want a chronological narrative, with a clear arch of a story, this book is not for you. If, however, you step back and realize that the central core of the novel is of a horrendous disaster t...
  • Tina Siegel
    Again, Moore's prose is lovely. She's got a gift for being poetic without descending into overwrought emotionalism. And I love her ear for the salty tang of Newfoundland English. Moore has certainly captured the devestation - and even the terror - of the Ocean Ranger disaster. Her descriptions of the rig's last moments, and the men in the water, are gut-wrenching. I did feel like some of her transitions could be better, particularly in the beginn...
  • Steven Langdon
    Lisa Moore has marked herself as one of Canada's best authors in 2013. Not only was her gripping new book "Caught" put on the short list for the Giller Prize, but this emotionally powerful 2009 novel won this years CBC Canada Reads award. This is a beautifully structured and deftly written collision with tragedy and death. The focus is a loving but vulnerable woman, Helen, whose husband Cal dies with 83 other oil rig workers in the 1982 Ocean Ran...
  • Caren
    I happened upon this author when reading reviews of her newest book. As I looked at her previous titles, I realized she lives in and infuses her work with the Newfoundland city of St. John's, which just happens to be where one of my daughters is currently living. Of course I had to start with this book, since it is, after all, February. I had never heard of the Ocean Ranger disaster, but I began to learn about it through this book and was even in...