Lisa Moore's Alligator gives dramatic birth to a new kind of fiction: North Atlantic Gothic. The story moves with the swiftness of a gator in attack mode through the lives of a group of brilliantly rendered characters in contemporary St. John's, Newfoundland-- a city whose spiritual location is somewhere in the heart of Flannery O'Connor country. Its denizens jostle each other in uneasy arabesques of desire, greed, lust, and ambition, juxtaposed with a yearning for purity, depth, and redemption. Meet Madeleine, the driven aging filmmaker whose mission is to complete a Bergmanesque magnum opus before she dies; Frank, a young man of innocence and determination whose life is a strange anthology of unpredictable dangers; Valentin, the sociopathic Russian refugee whose predatory tendencies threaten everyone he encounters; and Colleen, at seventeen a hard-edged female Holden Caulfield, drawn inexorably to the places where alligators thrive. In these pages humanity is a bizarre combination of the reptilian and the saintly. Listen to its heartbeat, and be moved -- and delighted.
...compelling and rewarding...surprisingly emotional, rich with human feeling and insight. Moore has a keen ear for both dialogue and a well-turned phrase, and the writing is suffused with a reckless joy...
...superb... While the number of seemingly disparate plots is initially confusing, paths cross in unexpected, satisfying ways.
Alligator is full of visual detail, abrupt cuts, and startling juxtapositions. Moore switches effortlessly from topic to topic, scene to scene, past to present, and one perspective to another, as one might switch channels on a television. Fittingly, the novel achieves just what Madeleine proposes her documentaries offer: an unexpected story, a strong message, at least one belly laugh.
... a remarkable, heartfelt story ...
Lisa Moore is an astonishing writer. She brings to her pages what we are always seeking in fiction and only find in the best of it: a magnetizing gift for revealing how the earth feels, looks, tastes, smells, and an unswerving instinct for what's important in life.
...reads like the literary version of some artfully arranged visual collage.