Alligator by Lisa Moore

I just, just finished reading this book, and I’m not sure exactly how I feel about it. It’s a deep, deep book. There’s so much symbolism and imagery, and SO many metaphors; I got confused as to what was actually happening in the book and the different emotions being described. I can see why it was nominated for the Giller though, it’s unlike anything else I’ve ever read. It makes you think, without telling you to. Like, you stop reading and start staring off into space, but you’re not sure what made you stop and ponder.

There were no quotation marks, which usually drives me crazy, but it wasn’t so bad in this book. My short story writing teacher said that authors will not use quotation marks in order to present themselves, and the reader, with a challenge. Normally I just think it’s confusing, but in this book, the author did it well. I’m not sure what her reasoning was, but it worked. Maybe she felt it would flow better. The book did certainly flow. Her sentences would sometimes run on forever, it seemed, but they almost always worked.

Another writing tool Moore used was the flashback. Used in excess. This was also a bit confusing, as it was hard to distinguish between the current story being told and the background she was portraying. It seemed almost backwards- she’d present the characters in a setting, and then she’d explain how they got there. I guess this is just another way of telling a story, and it did feel fresh.

The ending seemed a bit abrupt. I didn’t feel there was enough of a build-up to the climax, and that left me feeling like the book ended in a hurry. Most of the story ends were tied up, but there was one integral part that she left hanging. Unfortunately, the characters involved in this part of the book, Frank and Colleen, were my favourite, so I felt a bit jipped. I kept getting Isobel and Madeleine mixed up, and I didn’t really care what Beverly was up to.

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