Alligator

Alligator

Book - 2006
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Lisa Moore's Alligator moves with the swiftness of a gator in attack mode through the lives of a group of brilliantly rendered characters in a city whose spiritual location is somewhere in the heart of Flannery O'Connor country. Madeleine, the driven, ageing 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 Colleen, at seventeen, a hard-edged female Holden Caulfield, drawn inexorably to the places where alligators thrive.

Madeleine, the driven, ageing 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 Colleen, at seventeen, a hard-edged female Holden Caulfield, drawn inexorably to the places where alligators thrive.

Publisher: London : Virago, 2006.
ISBN: 9781844081295
184408129X
Branch Call Number: FIC MOO

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brianreynolds Jul 06, 2013

The nice thing about unravelling a Sudoku is: in the end it either fits or it doesn't; if a mistake has been made, whether by a careless realignment or a lapse in logic, it's clear that I've got it wrong. When trying to put together the shards of Lisa Moore's Alligator the solution does not appear upside down after the acknowledgements. I may have it wrong. Embarrassingly so. But the writing so deliciously excites the imagination paragraph after paragraph that I feel like I can't be alone in wanting there to be some trail of breadcrumbs to a real story. Moore makes me green with envy with her razor sharp delineation of characters, her dance along the tightrope of emphasis or effect—precision or excess. Where does she come up with these backgrounds, these descriptions, these deafening understatements that end almost every scene? It can't be accidental, then, that only one of the many character vignettes is actually written in the first person: that of Colleen, the teenage rebel. It is Colleen that gives shape to her mother, her aunt, to a young hot dog vendor, his assailant, Frank's friends, an alligator farm proprietor, and others. And while, for a reason I cannot fathom, Colleen is not given the final (or even one of the final eight) voices in the book, she is, in the end, finally nudged back onto a hopeful path. She is neither eaten nor alienated nor dedicated to a life of crime and that, perhaps, is as much as anyone can wish for a teenager in the post-modern world.

s
skippie
Jun 19, 2012

It took me a while to get into the book too. The point of view shifts with each chapter; there are quite a few characters and the relationships between them are revealed gradually throughout the book. But this writer has a real knack for creating arresting scenes, and the "weirdness" of the situations that she depicts are one of the great assets of this book. It's a hyper-real weirdness of the kind you find in Daniel Clowes' graphic novels, perhaps. The characters are so lifelike that I could totally imagine walking into them on the street -- hence the feeling I got from this book that nothing is stranger than reality itself... Definitely worth reading!

sblazey Aug 30, 2011

I only read the first few chapters of this book and it was kind of weird. I wasn't a fan so I stopped reading and returned the book.

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