February, By Lisa Moore

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The Independent Culture

Inspired by a real event – the sinking of an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland in 1982 – February tells the story of how one woman's life is irrevocably shaped by the tragedy.

The novel is recounted by Helen whose husband, Cal, is drowned on Valentine's Day when the Ocean Ranger goes down. She's left with three children to raise, and is pregnant with a fourth.

The book opens 25 years later as Helen receives a call from her eldest son, John, letting her know that his girlfriend is pregnant. Both mother and son are pinned to the past, and Moore deftly depicts how both have lived their lives through the prism of grief.

A well-crafted and shrewd meditation on motherhood and loss, the novel's unexpectedly cheery end leads the ever pragmatic Helen into an altogether sunnier sphere.