In the June 2013 issue of Q&Q, Mark Callanan speaks to Lisa Moore about her third novel, Caught, a story of courage and escape
When Lisa Moore’s February won the CBC’s Canada Reads competition earlier this year, I was painting crown mouldings in the sunroom of a gargantuan Victorian-era house in St. John’s. This is not an important fact except insofar as it illustrates my sense of bearing witness to a momentous occasion, and therefore being finely attuned to my surroundings at the time.
Moore’s novel takes place in the aftermath of the sinking of the Ocean Ranger oil platform, a tragedy that profoundly affects the book’s protagonist. This year marks the 31st anniversary of the disaster, which is indelibly etched in the minds of Newfoundlanders. As the broadcast came down to the final vote, I felt that something big was at stake. This wasn’t just about a book; for the families and loved ones of the 84 men who died, it was public acknowledgment of a lasting grief.
Upon the launch of her third novel, Caught (published this month by House of Anansi Press), Moore accepts the Canada Reads victory with gratitude and equanimity. I was aware throughout the entire process “ hyperaware “ that there were many other books that could have been on any one of those lists, and even as the list got winnowed I really saw it as a lottery, she says, sitting in the fog-enshrouded light shining through a bank of windows in the kitchen of her downtown St. John’s row house. The tempo of her speech slows as she continues: Outside of the quality of writing or the book or anything to do with me, I felt glad that the subject of the Ocean Ranger was spoken about, particularly on the anniversary. And that was intensely emotional.