The Next Chapter

Why economic anxiety inspired Lisa Moore's new short story collection

The celebrated author spoke with Shelagh Rogers about Something for Everyone, an award-winning book that explores the tragic and the miraculous of every day life.
Something for Everyone is a short story collection by Lisa Moore. (Heather Barrett, House of Anansi Press)

Newfoundland-based writer Lisa Moore is one of Canada's most accomplished fiction writers. Her novels include February — which won Canada Reads 2013 — Caught and Alligator

Something for Everyone is her third short story collection and it showcases an eclectic array of stories that examine the timeless, the tragic and the miraculous hidden in the underbelly of the everyday lives of our society.

Something for Everyone won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and Alistair MacLeod Prize for short fiction and was on the longlist for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

This interview originally aired on Sept. 17, 2018.

Economic uncertainty

"A lot of Something for Everyone has to do with the economic situation in Newfoundland right now. We have a monstrously expensive hydroelectric dam at Muskrat Falls that is environmentally questionable to say the least and devastating financially for people just trying to pay their utilities bills.

"The province is experiencing this crunch of expectations and a lot of people losing their jobs. I wanted the book to capture that kind of economic precariousness and lack of job security. But some parts of the book are funny as well."

Independent women

"I worry about all women at this present time, and particularly I worry about the women here in St. John's. There was a serial rapist in the area recently and the terror that spread was palpable. You could feel it like it was like static electricity. Thankfully he was caught, but what struck me was the pervasive terror that gripped us all.

"It made you make small decisions, like looking at your watch to see when it would be dark and when you could walk from one place to another. The notion that it is not safe to walk is a really difficult thing to get your mind around. We have to always be aware there's always a sixth sense."

Class division

"Right now in Newfoundland, there is such concern about the economy. I'm interested in how that wealth is supposed to trickle down from a hierarchical class perspective. I think what actually happens is that poverty trickles down and it's the people at the bottom who are really fragile. 

"The divide between the one per cent and everybody else is just growing exponentially, even as we draw breath.  I think we're going to see more and more of that desperation not just in this province, but everywhere. And I just want it to be documented."

Lisa Moore's comments have been edited for length and clarity.