Books·My Life in Books

6 books Caught novelist Lisa Moore loves

With the adaptation of her novel Caught airing on CBC, acclaimed Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore shares six books she loves.
Lisa Moore's Caught was shortlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize and is now a CBC mini series starring Allan Hawco. (Courtesy of House of Anansi Press)

Set in Newfoundland in 1978, Lisa Moore's Caught follows the misadventures of David Slaney, a recent prison escapee looking for one final job to set him up for life. Allan Hawco wrote and stars in the CBC Television adaptation of Caught, which airs on Mondays at 9:00 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Below, Moore, who was shortlisted for the 2013 Scotiabank Giller Prize for Caught, describes six books that have shaped her life.

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery, pictured above in 1891, is a classic Canadian novel that is beloved around the world. (The Canadian Press/University of Guelph, Spark Photo Festival)

"She's L.M. and I am L.M.! But I love Anne for more than all that. Lucy Maud Montgomery is hilarious, and though the P.E.I landscape is not as ragged and dangerous as Newfoundland, (more lush and peaceful, more root vegetables), Anne is the kind of girl who could have come from Newfoundland! She loses her temper, has a big imagination, an elevated vocabulary beyond her years and she bursts the seams of every female convention for polite behaviour that ever there was. She is vain and dangerously smart and feels deeply and smashes a slate chalkboard over a boy's head and hates her red hair. But the reader loves her every utterance."

This All Happened by Michael Winter

This All Happened by Michael Winter was published in 2000. (CBC/House of Anansi)

"Michael Winter's novel is sexy, vivid, funny and sharp. It plays with the line between fiction and autobiography. Did this all happen or not? Taking its structure from a ship's log, the novel unfolds in journal entries over the course of a year. I defy any reader to find a single sentence that's not gorgeous. A single moment that doesn't ring true."

Mrs. Dalloway by Virginia Woolf

Mrs. Dalloway, by Virginia Woolf, recounts a day in the life of Clarissa Dalloway. (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

"Virginia Woolf explores not just the creation of a character — but, as she says, the very spirit of a human being — by following the torrents of memory as they touch down the consciousness of Mrs. Dalloway. We know what she thinks and feels! We don't have to like her, or identify with her — she's a bit superficial,  a snob and on the conservative side — but we know her inside out. We know her the moment she flings open the windows of her house to air the place out for her grand party. Woolf revolutionized plot. She made it all about formation of character, minute by minute, second by second, the flux of being."

Irma Voth by Miriam Toews

Miriam Toews' 2011 novel Irma Voth centres around a 19-year-old living in a Mennonite community in northern Mexico. (Carol Loewen/Canadian Press)

"I love this book for its humour, and the powerful depiction of the life of an artist — in this case a film director in Mexico, willing to die for his art and maybe bring down everybody with him. On the one hand, Toews is making fun of this guy —  the director in her novel is so beautifully rendered in all his passion and struggle and bombast. And on the other hand the reader is left unsettled, wondering what art is, what life would be worth without it."

The Wild Palms by William Faulkner

William Faulkner was born in Oxford, Mississippi in 1897 and died in 1962. (AFP/Getty Images/Vintage)

"This novel splices together two very separate stories: a woman dying from an illegal abortion in a rented cottage by the sea and the fate of a group of prisoners shackled together in the back of a truck during a flood. As the Mississippi rises around their chained ankles, they beg to be let go. One of the prisoners, a lifer, desperately wants to get back to prison, the only place he feels safe. He finds himself a row boat and heads back to incarceration, floating among the uprooted palm trees and dead cows, only to come upon a pregnant woman stuck in a tree, about to give birth. This is where the two distinct stories touch up and rub against each other. One story is hilariously ironic, the freed man who cannot leave his cage; the other story desperate and prescient when it comes to women's rights concerning reproduction. Because Faulkner experimentally smashed these two plots together and let the pieces fall where they may, the themes in each story intertwine to beautiful effect."

Running in the Family by Michael Ondaatje

Running in the Family is a memoir by celebrated Canadian novelist Michael Ondaatje. (Chris Young/The Canadian Press/Vintage Canada)

"This autobiography, like Winter's This All Happened, plays fast and free with the facts. In Ondaatje's case, magic realism makes this family saga more true than the truth; it is poetically charged, spare, elegiac and mesmeric."


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