About this book
Something for Everyone
Internationally celebrated as one of literature’s most gifted stylists, Lisa Moore returns with her third story collection, a soaring chorus of voices, dreams, loves, and lives. Taking us from the Fjord of Eternity to the streets of St. John’s and the swamps of Orlando, these stories show us the timeless, the tragic, and the miraculous hidden in the underbelly of our everyday lives. A missing rock god may have jumped a cruise ship — in the Arctic. A grieving young woman may live next to a serial rapist. A man’s last day on Earth replays in the minds of others in a furiously sensual, heartrending fugue. Something for Everyone is Moore at the peak of her prowess — she seems bent on nothing less than rewiring the circuitry of the short story itself.
Orlando, Florida. I’m here with a conference of twenty thousand librarians from all over North America, two weeks after the Pulse massacre. It’s very early; I’m jogging around two big, olive-coloured ponds and not a breath of wind, an empty eight-lane highway between the ponds and I’m on the median.
A lizard skitters over the curb and across the highway. It goes in fast-forward but there are glitches. Stops. Goes, stops. Darts. A jellied quivering. The long thin body is still, but the legs. You can’t even see the legs in the bald light. Just a blur of motion.
There are squiggles of fluorescent spray-paint here and there on the sidewalk in pink, orange, and lime. They’re construction directives, targets for jackhammers, indicating the location of water or sewage pipes beneath the concrete, positions for embedded spigots, underground tunnels for workers and who knows what else — bog people, muskets, cannonballs, arrowheads. I took two planes to get here.
Orlando was retrieved from the swamp by a wily entrepreneur who set up dummy companies to purchase the land cheap. A hundred thousand people work in the theme parks here, vomiting in their oversized cartoon-costume heads because you aren’t allowed to vomit in a theme park. It’s hot in those cartoon heads. You aren’t even allowed to die of heat prostration.
People who die on the parks’ premises are secreted away, whisked from the grounds in unmarked cars and why not? Why not have a zone that death can’t in infiltrate? It costs fabulously to squeeze into these crowds, to belong.
Of course you offer life without death.
You offer furry animals that speak.
When I’m coming around the second pond the sprayers come on and shuffle out sheets of recollected water, the sign says. Water that I don’t want to touch my bare skin because who knows.
It’s not true that the wily entrepreneur is cryogenically preserved. That’s an urban legend. People say just his head in a murky aquarium: mouth open, the lower lip looking grey and nibbled, deteriorating despite the formaldehyde, like he’s developed a cold sore, and a five o’clock shadow, because hair still grows in death. Sometimes the head burps and a wobbling bubble escapes a corner of the mouth. A fold-encrusted eyelid utters. But that is just the underwater air infiltration.
This place is where the GoFundMe stage-four cancer children come to fulfill a bucket list. The parks around here specialize in reconstituting hearts — break ’em, put ’em back together. The white beluga in the aquarium will do it for you, all by itself. Defibrillate your soul. The ghostly mammal emerges from the murk, tail dragging because of a low-grade fugue.
About the Author
Lisa Moore is the acclaimed author of the novels Caught, February, and Alligator. Caught was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Scotiabank Giller Prize and is now a major CBC television series starring Allan Hawco. February won CBC’s Canada Reads competition, was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize, and was named a New Yorker Best Book of the Year and a Globe and Mail Top 100 Book. Alligator was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize, won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize (Canada and the Caribbean region), and was a national bestseller. Her story collection Open was a finalist for the Scotia Bank Giller Prize and a national bestseller. Her most recent work is a collection of short stories called Something for Everyone. Lisa lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.
Awards and Praise
PRAISE FOR LISA MOORE AND SOMETHING FOR EVERYONE:
Winner, Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award
Winner, Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction
Longlisted, Scotiabank Giller Prize
A Globe and Mail Book of the Year
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
“The stories in Lisa Moore’s collection, Something for Everyone, pulsate with raw energy and a fierce, searching intelligence. In a series of unconventional tales that explode off the page, Moore ushers her reader into a familiar but fractured and anything-but-straightforward reality. Lisa Moore writes of quotidian lives in crisis. Her characters’ anxieties mirror our own: family, love, employment, finances. But from these commonplace lives she conjures spellbinding mini-dramas, drawing us in from each story’s opening line, generating great suspense and fully engaging our sympathies. Throughout, the writing is vibrant, uninhibited and packed with sensual detail. Moore acknowledges the beauty of nature and the human capacity for kindness; she is no stranger to the essential comedy of the human condition. But never does she shy away from the dark undercurrents of her characters’ lives. Something for Everyone is an important book by a major talent working at the height of her considerable powers, an author who isn’t afraid to stretch the boundaries of her art and who pursues her singular aesthetic vision in an uncompromising and wildly entertaining manner.” — Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award Jury Citation
“Unexpected events, memorable characters, and a reverence for struggling make this collection anything but ordinary.” — Pique Newsmagazine
“Lisa Moore brings a particular wizardry to whatever she touches, but her command of the short story is such that when she bends its rules, we look at old ideas in new ways . . . The stories in Something for Everyone are like prizes in pass-the-parcel. They tie up neatly, but they’re loose enough so that when you move the package, the corner edge tears, and the wrapping opens up like a hole in a pair of nylons, and you realize there are a lot more layers underneath that need to be peeled back and teased apart.” — Overcast
“Moore takes her characters to some undeniably dark places in these stories, though the book is never entirely devoid of humour or hope. And there is abiding joy in the prose, which is lithe and tensile in equal measure. There is astonishment here, and grit, and beauty that is close to breathtaking.” — Quill & Quire, starred review
“[A] testimony to her absolute mastery of technique . . . Without question, Moore is a writer of great social conscience and compassion.” — Toronto Star
“In Moore’s most diverse and powerful collection yet, each story has a role to play in highlighting the most fascinating hidden aspects of our everyday lives.” — Toronto Life
PRAISE FOR LISA MOORE AND CAUGHT:
Finalist, Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize 2013
Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize 2013
Winner, Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of 2013
An Amazon.ca Best Books: Editors' Pick of 2013
“Precise, compressed, intimately rhythmic, mesmerizingly smart.” — Globe and Mail
“In the creation of David Slaney, Lisa Moore brings us an unforgettable character, embodying the exuberance and energy of misspent youth. Caught is a propulsive and harrowing read.” — Patrick deWitt, author of The Sisters Brothers
“[Lisa Moore’s] written a new kind of legend for a new Newfoundland.” — Reader’s Digest
“Caught is an outstanding novel, combining the complexity of the best literary fiction with the page-turning compulsive readability of a thriller.” — National Post“Lisa Moore’s new book is a beautiful piece of writing.” — Winnipeg Free Press“This novel that is rife with realness, and beauty, and tension; so much it hurts, in the best possible way.” — Newfoundland Quarterly“Moore’s prose is as vivid as ever.” — NOW Magazine“Caught proceeds like a lit fuse.” — Georgia Straight“As trippy, mellow, and revelatory as Hearn’s weed, Caught takes pleasure from rewriting crime formulas and gives pleasure in doing so.” — Vancouver SunPRAISE FOR LISA MOORE AND FEBRUARY:
Winner, CBC Canada Reads 2013
Longlist, Man Booker Prize
Finalist, Winterset Award
The New Yorker Best Books of the Year
A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
“Loneliness is hard to write about without become maudlin or cliched. But Moore never errs on the side of sentimentality . . . There’s an economy in Moore’s style that shows us how a once vibrant life can be whittled down by pain and loneliness. But, by grounding her writing in the physical world, Moore shows how life’s everyday tasks and encounters create a comforting continuity that allows forward movement.” — National Post
“Exquisitely mindful . . . All is suffering, certainly, but it’s just as true that all is also pretty funny. Moore gets this. She gets life . . . Moore offers us, elegantly, exultantly, the very consciousness of her characters. In this way, she does more than make us feel for them. She makes us feel what they feel, which is the point of literature and maybe even the point of being human.” — Globe and Mail
“Lisa Moore’s work is passionate, gritty, lucid, and beautiful. She has a great gift.” — Anne Enright, Man Booker Prize–winning author of The Gathering
“Lisa Moore is an astonishing writer. She brings to her pages what we are always seeking in fiction and only find the best of it: a magnetizing gift for revealing how the earth feels, looks, tastes, smells, and an unswerving instinct for what’s important in life.” — Richard Ford, author of Canada
“Moore deftly weaves together the present . . . and the past, evoking memory and grief in pitch-perfect detail.” — The New Yorker
“It has been a joy indeed to discover Lisa Moore. Despite her great success with a previous novel and two collections of short fiction, February is the first book I have read by this talented Canadian writer. I shall soon be reading the rest.” — Daily Telegraph
“[February] is what great prose should be . . . a work of art . . . a moving narrative of risk, love, loss, and surviving” — Newfoundland Quarterly
“This mesmerizing book is full of tears, and is a graceful meditation on how to survive life’s losses.” — Marie Claire
“Soaring.” — Chatelaine
“[Moore] expertly captures her characters’ physical surroundings in sharp-edged fragments of colour and sensation . . . Helen comes across as a perfectly ordinary woman . . . But that’s what [February] is about: a perfectly ordinary woman whose life is profoundly changed by an extraordinary event. This is a marvellous book.” — Winnipeg Free Press
“Moore pens another triumph . . . emotional tension, coupled with an acute eye for regional setting and dialect, has long been a hallmark of Moore’s work . . . the hauntingly beautiful February, is likely to turn some heads and hearts as well.”— Chronicle Herald
“Moore never errs on the side of sentimentality . . . Loneliness is hard to write about without becoming maudlin or cliched. But Moore seems to understand this very human facility, describing the unconscious ways we sometimes try to avoid feeling overwhelmed by it . . . Moore shows how life’s everyday tasks and encounters create a comforting continuity that eventually wears down emotional pain to allow forward movement . . . You’ll be surprised at this novel’s ability to uplift.” — Ottawa Citizen
“Moore . . . is one of the smartest, sharpest minds among Canada’s younger fiction writers, and she deftly averts the saccharine and hyperbolic in this, her second novel.” — Matrix Magazine
“There is no one else in the country who can touch Lisa Moore’s elegant rendering of language . . . She’s distinctive, and what she does with language is nothing less than dazzling, and then there is her uncanny ability to inhabit every pore and sinew of her endearingly human characters . . . What she does with language is pure art.” — Salty Ink
“Complex yet clear, compelling and profound, the style is a joy to read and Lisa Moore’s story-spinning gift is great. Her people become our people, her richly described settings our own.” — Atlantic Books Today
“Canadian writer Lisa Moore’s second novel solidifies her reputation as a gifted writer whose prose exhibits an urgency, precision, and sensitivity worthy of the legacy of Virginia Woolf.” — The World
“Moore, whose previous novel, Alligator, won a Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, renders sensations with the precision of a Vermeer.” — Booklist
“Moore has established with her second novel a distinctive voice in Canadian literature. Language in Moore’s capable hands is often deceptively spare, revealing for the careful reader layers of acute insight. Her writing in February is characterized by a raw, stream-of-consciousness intensity.” — Literary Review of Canada
PRAISE FOR LISA MOORE AND ALLIGATOR:
Winner, Commonwealth Fiction Prize (Canada and the Caribbean)
Winner, ReLit Award
Finalist, Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award
Finalist, Scotiabank Giller Prize
Finalist, Bennington Gate Fiction Award
Longlist, IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Longlist, Orange Broadband Award
“Bold, vivid, imagistic, resonant . . . Moore’s joy at being alive and living among her people and getting them down as honestly as she can is irrepressible.” — Globe and Mail
“Superb . . . While the number of seemingly disparate plots is initially confusing, paths cross in unexpected, satisfying ways.” — Entertainment Weekly
“Compelling and rewarding . . . surprisingly emotional, rich with human feeling and insight. Moore has a keen ear for both dialogue and a well-turned phrase, and the writing is suffused with a reckless joy.” — Quill & Quire
“Alligator is full of visual detail, abrupt cuts, and startling juxtapositions. Moore switches effortlessly from topic to topic, scene to scene, past to present, and one perspective to another, as one might switch channels on a television. Fittingly, the novel achieves just what Madeleine proposes her documentaries offer: an unexpected story, a strong message, at least one belly laugh.” — Canadian Literature
PRAISE FOR LISA MOORE AND OPEN:
“Lisa Moore writes like a dream. This is a marvellous collection . . . A truly original voice.” — Michael Redhill, Globe and Mail
“Moore’s talent is staggering, her images arresting, her dialogue, particularly between men and women, needle-to-the-eye sharp.” — Maclean’s
“[Moore’s] stories are full of nerve and verve. They brim with an irresistible mix of adrenaline, compassion, and insight . . . Perceptive and wonderful.” — National Post