Skip to content

By Lisa Moore

“Moore’s spare, economical writing is full of offhand beauty. Her images are so surefooted they give the impression of having been rendered not merely in the best words available but in the only words imaginable.”
The New York Times Book Review

“This book is as beautiful as a reptile sliding through water and just as mysteriously powerful. . . . A beguiling debut.”
Glasgow Herald


Lisa Moore’s Alligator gives dramatic birth to a new kind of fiction: North Atlantic Gothic. The story moves with the swiftness of a gator in attack mode through the lives of a group of brilliantly rendered characters in contemporary St. John’s, Newfoundland—a city whose spiritual location is somewhere in the heart of Flannery O’Connor country. Its denizens jostle each other in uneasy arabesques of desire, greed, lust, and ambition, juxtaposed with a yearning for purity, depth, and redemption.

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

“Moore’s great skill is to dip in and out of her characters’ lives while leaving you feeling that the glimpses you get of them are the most significant, the most telling glimpses you could possibly have. . . Reading a Lisa Moore book is almost like eavesdropping on things you were always meant to hear in the first place.”
The Scotsman

“Great things are being predicted for this writer, and, on the basis of this extraordinary novel alone, rightly so. Canadian Lisa Moore’s name is being spoken in the same breath as Annie Proulx. . . but for my money the newcomer is better. Her crystal clear prose is astonishing.”
Irish Examiner

“Lisa Moore’s glittering novel revolves around a cast of characters whose lives intersect as they engage in their own mortal battles. Their brittle human struggles, deftly told, are set against a powerfully wrought sensual landscape, tangy with passion, regret, joy, and despair.”

“Moore writes with deep, truthful observation and is often extremely funny.”
The Times (London)

“Nuance and cunning, and every time, of all the possible words, exactly the right word. The making of a wondrous fiction demands both compassion and hard choices, and Lisa Moore seems born to it.”
-Bonnie Burnard, author of A Good House

“Lisa Moore writes as lyrically as any of her peers, creating line after line, paragraph after paragraph about plain, grim, North American life made beautiful by the telling of it. She’s so good at it she could give compatriot Michael Ondaatje a few lessons, and give readers so inclined a few hours of desperately haunting pages about existence between the jaws of the beast.”
Chicago Tribune

“[Moore’s] writing—bluntly—is a terrific turn-on for all sexes and all ages
. . . she’s bold, vivid, imagistic, resonant . . . . Alligator glints with wit and jarring insight.”
The Globe and Mail

“[Alligator] does for Newfoundland what Empire Falls did for dying smalltown Maine and The Sportswriter did for suburban New Jersey. . . . Powerfully drawn secondary characters…add depth to this generous novel.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“. . . cool prose and scrupulous observation . . . .
Heavy with luminous detail . . .”
Kirkus Reviews

“An utterly gorgeous gathering of images.”
See Magazine

“A writer who is at the top of her game and a novel of distinctive merit.”
Atlantic Books Today

“Lisa Moore is a highly inventive wordsmith . . . . [Her] rhymthic sentences and powers of description create a strange reality for her readers as she writes of a place and time that is at once modern and mythic, and wholly her own.”
Books in Canada

“Moore’s writing shimmers with energy, while her characters are sketched with enough detail and passion to ensure a captivating read.”

“Compelling and rewarding… the novel is 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

“. . . as remarkable for the vividness of its setting as it is for its idiosyncratic population…. Alligator portrays everything from the depths of depravity to hopes for redemption, with characters epitomizing both extremes.”
Kirkus Reviews


House of Anansi Press, Canada, Fall 2005

Grove/Atlantic, U.S., Fall 2006

Virago, UK, Fall 2006

Les Editions du Boréal, Quebec and France, Fall 2006

Meulenhoff, The Netherlands, Fall 2006


Winner of the Commonwealth Prize for the Canada/Carribbean region

Shortlisted for the Giller Prize

Longlisted for the Orange Broadband Prize for Fiction

Other Books by Lisa Moore