Monday, March 27, 2006

Reader's Diary #61- Lisa Moore: Alligator (up to p.44)

According to Sure b'y, reviewers of Alligator have commented about its "non-linear narrative". I found this term in reference to to her collection of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness but not to Alligator. In either case, when I think of what that term must mean, I guess it could be applied to Alligator as well to some extent. However, nonlinear storytelling is becoming the norm in Canadian literature so it's hardly a selling point. But the way Moore handles it, it's hardly a drawback either.

So far I've read seven chapters, each revolving around specific characters. While a there isn't a discernible overall plot yet, each chapter has its own subplot and, fittingly for Moore, they could almost be read as short stories.

What I like most about these stories is the way she captures thought. In many stories that I've read, the characters either have an almost unnatural ability to focus on the issue at hand without letting their mind wander at all, or else they get so caught up in a flashback that I, as a reader, am lost entirely as to what is going on. With Moore's writing, I don't feel lost despite the many meanderings. For instance, in the first chapter that follows Frank, the story was more or less about the suicide of an Inuit guy that lived in his boarding house. However, it is through details of Frank's hot dog business, his desire for a waterbed and his mom's cancer that the story of the unnamed Inuit guy's death is told. It's an interesting interplay between the chapters and novel. It's almost as if they work symbiotically with one another. But saying that, I hope I don't come across as one of those reviewers Sure b'y seemed to be complaining about!

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