Caught by Lisa Moore

caughtCaught was short listed for the 2013 Giller Prize. It’s the story of a young Newfoundlander, David Slaney, who escapes from prison on the eve of his birthday to attempt a do-over of the crime that got him “caught” (incarcerated) in the first place: smuggling massive amounts of pot into Canada by boat.

I loved this book, not so much for the plot, but for Slaney as a character who is complex, thoughtful, and reflective. Patterson, the cop who hunts him, is equally well rendered — vivid portraits of twin protagonists, one “good,” one “bad” on opposite sides of the law.

Moore’s language is clipped yet lyrical, dense yet economical. The cadence of the prose is like an incantation, casting a spell that evokes the details of the working poor in Canada in the 70s, the strippers, truckers, barkeeps, veterans, students, huge families, and the mentally ill trying to live their lives. I read the book twice, back to back, and I’d read it again.

–October, November 2013

Leached the good right out of her

She said Harold had got off on the wrong foot in life. She was Harold’s eldest sister. Sue Ellen Molloy, her name was, she said, and she’d tried to look out for him but she’d had a lot on her plate when Harold was growing up.

There’s twenty-one in our family, she said. It was hard on our mother’s teeth. Leached off the enamel. They turned to dust in her mouth. Her bones got soft. Took the good out of her. Our father died all of a sudden and Harold came after that. Nobody knows from where. He’s only my half-brother. That never made any difference to me. I tried as hard with Harold as I did with the rest of them after our mother passed on.

Caught by Lisa Moore

Ghostly imagery

There was a woman smoking a cigarette in the passenger seat. She turned all the way around to get a good look at him as they rolled to a stop.
Slaney would remember her face for a long time. An amber dashlight lit her brown hair. The reflection of his own face slid over hers on the window and stopped when the car stopped, so that for the briefest instant the two faces became one grotesque face with two noses and four eyes, and there was an elongated forehead and a stretched mannish chin under her full mouth and maybe she saw the same thing on her side of the glass.

Caught by Lisa Moore