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3.29  ·  Rating Details ·  1,294 Ratings  ·  123 Reviews

Lisa Moore's wickedly fresh first novel, a Canadian best seller, winner of the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Canadian and Caribbean region), and a Globe and Mail Book of the Year moves with the swiftness of an alligator in attack mode through the lives of a group of brilliantly rendered characters mingling in contemporary St. John's, Newfoundland. St. John's is a city whose

Paperback, 306 pages
Published August 16th 2006 by Grove Press, Black Cat (first published September 1st 2005)
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Jun 24, 2013 Brian added it
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 wan ...more
Geoff Seymour
Feb 12, 2012 Geoff Seymour rated it it was ok

I wanted to like it, I really wanted to like it but I just didn't find any of the characters likeable. I think each chapter is very well written, and I think as a series of short stories it could be a decent collection but as a novel I found the lack of continuity between chapters jarring. The subject of each chapter shifts between characters, and because I really didn't like any of them, I found it difficult to keep track of what was happening to whom. I also felt let down by the lack of resol
May 02, 2010 Allyson rated it liked it
This author has a true gift for place description and feelings laid out so evocatively, but her style of chapter intercutting is too annoying. I really would love to read a novel she writes fluidly, rather than jumping around back and forth, person to person, year to year. It is frustrating and I am not sure why I cannot accept her strategy except that I see it as a weakness in a writer, rather than a strength.
These characters were more interesting than February but I am curious whether I would
Rebecca McNutt
Taking place in the capital city of Newfoundland, Alligator was a half-decent enough novel although I definitely could've done without the eco-freak teenager and inconsistent characters. The plot didn't seem to go anywhere but the writing style was great and I think the author still has potential.
Fatih Balkış
Feb 15, 2017 Fatih Balkış rated it really liked it
Kanada'nın önemli yazarlarından biri.

Lisa Moore’un ödüllü romanı Timsah, Newfoundland’de süren uzak yaşam üzerine biçimlenmiş öykülerden kurulmuş. Edebiyat tarihindeki çok merkezli anlatım yöntemi benimsenerek yazılmış bu romanda, yer yer Faulkner’in Döşeğimde Ölürken’inden yer yer de Alfred Döblin’in Berlin-Aleksander Meydanı’ından esintiler var. On yedi yaşındaki ekolojik-terör yanlısı Colleen, annesinin kanserden ölümünden sonra yaşamını bir yola koymaya çalışan Frank, belgesel film yapımcısı
Mar 01, 2014 Buchdoktor rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: canada
Der Plot erinnert an Rätsel im Stil: Wenn Petra im roten Haus wohnt und Tim einen Hund hat, wie heisst dann der Vater von Emma? Lisa Moores Roman spielt in St. Johns/Neufundland und deckt nach und nach die Beziehungen zwischen zahlreichen Figuren auf. Frank ist Waise und lebt von den Einkünften seines Hotdog-Imbisswagens. Er wohnt im gleichen Haus mit Valentin, einem furchterregenden Russen, der auf Neufundland gestrandet ist, weil der kanadische Staat das Schiff bechlagnahmte, auf dem Valentin ...more
Kristine Morris
May 14, 2012 Kristine Morris rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian
Picked this book from the library shelf because of it's alluring cover. Lisa Moore is a very skilled writer. Her ability to describe the details of ordinary things is amazing. Many authors can do this, and somehow Moore describes things you have seen yourself, can identify with immediately, so it feels almost as if you are reading about your own memories. For example, at the beginning of the second chapter: "...the warm night breeze jostles the handful of forget-me-nots sitting in a Mason jar of ...more
Michael Belcher
Aug 01, 2013 Michael Belcher rated it really liked it
I have rarely had such a visceral reaction to a book as I did with "Alligator." Closing the book after finishing, I felt a seething anger towards life, which was mixed with a sublime terror not unlike what that moment right before being attacked by a slithering, obscured reptile must feel like. There are instances of empathetic humanity in the novel, but the undercurrent is of a pervading thoughtlessness that spins progressively out of control. The characters cause each other immense pain and ne ...more
Jan 10, 2008 Donna rated it it was ok
Too choppy, too disconnected, too many stories, too many characters. The book jumped around far too much to hold my attention, and the less attention I paid the less I liked it. My memory of it now is much like a black-and-white newsreel on fast forward, with no chance to grasping enough of any one scene to understand what was happening. Perhaps the author described her own writing technique when she described the process of acting, on page 294: “That is acting: the alchemy of absence and presen ...more
Aug 14, 2008 Bonnie rated it it was amazing
A novel of a first novel! Love the style, the writing...more later! In the meantime, highly recommended.
Jigsaw pieces... Before you start piecing them together to see the bigger picture, that's what Alligator reminded me of most.

The book is written using different viewpoints and the ‘chapters’ are named after the character who is giving the reader his or her part of the story. It is not always clear from the start of a new chapter how a character will fit into the story and this intrigued me, because I knew there would be a connection with one or more of the other characters sooner or later.

When I
Nov 18, 2010 Eliza rated it liked it
Shelves: novel
12/31/2010: Because I loved Lisa Moore's second novel (February) so much, I wanted to read Alligator, her first. (Before Alligator, she published two volumes of short stories.) And I'm glad I did, as I loved seeing not only how much Moore has grown and developed between the two novels, but also what has remained consistent.
Alligator is told by multiple narrators who are each somehow linked to at least two of the other narrators. This narrative form can sometimes be confusing, especially if you'
I enjoyed aspects of the book and while it was well written, in the end it wasn't exactly the book for me. I really enjoyed Frank as a character, and would have loved to have read more about him. He just had something about him that pulled me in. I became very emotionally drawn to him as well and he's the one character that has stuck with me from the book. I really wish there was more on just Frank, as I think it would have been a more enjoyable read. I found I didn't care for the other characte ...more
Crystal Allen
Feb 26, 2008 Crystal Allen rated it liked it
Recommended to Crystal by: Barb
Shelves: 4mybookclub, fiction
I read this book while I had the flu and actually found it to be a pretty quick read. I like Lisa Moore's writing however this book didn't feel like a complete novel to me but rather a series of short vignettes. It was told from at least 7 different peoples' points of view and while I normally love that type of style this book never really came together for me. I enjoyed reading from Coleen and Frank's point of view the most and wish that Moore would have focused on just their points of view and ...more
Sep 27, 2014 Wanda rated it liked it
As a bizarre exercise in stream of consciousness writing, this novel seems to lack substance until somehow, something clicks and the structure is thrown into stark relief. I was especially compelled by the dynamism of these relationships, how subtly the struggle between love, disappointment, fear, and hate played out throughout the network of characters. I admit that I found this narrative style to be outside of my comfort zone, and so the regret I feel in finishing any book was here tinged with ...more
Jun 21, 2015 Maeve551 rated it really liked it
4.25 / 5
It took me awhile to warm up to this book but once I did, I found the characters and their interwoven plot lines compelling.
This is a beautifully crafted character - driven story about a group of people whose lives butt up against each other. These people will stay with me for a long time.
Mar 09, 2014 Paula rated it did not like it
So detailed and evocative in its sentences, yet so scattered and plot-less in its story! I'm not a fan of train-of-thought novels, and I had to force myself to finish it. I will say that being a Newfoundlander, I liked the setting, but it unnerved me that the source of all evil-doing originated in Hr Grace. Ha!
Jun 06, 2013 Lisa rated it liked it
What to say about this book? It was an okay read, although I wouldn't recommend it. Lisa Moore's writing style is interesting and unusual.
The many stories from many characters past and present blend better than I would have thought. It was a fair book. Not a great one.
Corinne Wasilewski
Jun 24, 2013 Corinne Wasilewski rated it really liked it
A book about survival and how some of us live for love and others of us live to run from love but it's love that drives us either way. I found the book easy to read and hard to put down.
Jun 22, 2016 Julie rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
Life has you in its teeth. You can either submit or you can fight.

Everyone in this story is passionate, broken, and resolute. The 17-year-old Colleen outwardly wants to save the earth, inwardly is bent on her own destruction. Frank loses his mother to cancer, leaving him alone in the world. She has extracted his promise to go to college, so he works every night at his hot dog cart to save tuition money. Colleen’s mother Beverly slogs through each day, four years into her sudden widowhood. Madel
Joanne Seitz
May 18, 2017 Joanne Seitz rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed Lisa Moore's "February" which is a novel about the Ocean Ranger sinking and its effect in St John's Nfld. But this book - which is also set in St. John's - is beautiful. There were pages where I thought I would like to take out paragraphs and frame them, her writing is so lovely. The characters and their relationships are complex and non-derivative. Loved it.
April Sanders
Jun 03, 2017 April Sanders rated it it was ok
This is the second novel I have read by this writer and I think it will be the last. I found the characters narcissistic, psychopathic or anhedonic. Their roles in the novel distilled to one of either predator or prey. I could have been persuaded to root for those who were preyed upon but they seemed so gelatinous that I couldn't summon the motivation to care.
Kimberlei Taylor
Jun 10, 2017 Kimberlei Taylor rated it it was amazing
I am pleased to write that I thoroughly enjoyed this novel! I particularly like the author's narrative style that takes the reader inside the character's mind so I'm glad that I did not let other reviews deter me from this satisfying and relatable discourse on human frailty.
Jun 03, 2017 Lis rated it liked it
Shelves: literary-fiction
Interesting and well written -- heartbreaking in parts -- but somehow it didn't all come together for me.
A series of characters whose lives intertwined (sometimes tragically) but at the end I couldn't see the point.
A debut novel and I give her credit for that.
Paula Dembeck
May 10, 2013 Paula Dembeck rated it really liked it
Lisa Moore opens her novel with a haunting image -- an alligator with its jaws wide open. Colleen a young teenager is glancing through a fashion magazine but also has her eye on one of her Aunt Madeleine’s safety videos. The action catches her attention as a man cautiously approaches the alligator and places his head in the animal’s open jaws. Suddenly, the alligator’s snaps its jaws shut and the man is fighting for his life. When the video is over, Colleen’s aunt tells her that the man survived ...more
Mar 25, 2013 Krista rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2013, can-con, maritimes
Since I cried and snuffled my way through February, I was really looking forward to reading Alligator, and perhaps I was expecting too much, especially since this book was Lisa Moore's first novel. I didn't find the multiple first person narratives and time jumping particularly confusing (which seems to be the chief complaint from other readers), in fact the time shifting in February and Open was a definite stylistic point in their favour, but here the complicated structure came off as masking m ...more
Edwin Lang
Jul 27, 2016 Edwin Lang rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2016
There are multiple characters in Alligator and a number of story lines and it is Madeleine who steals the story. Lisa Moore’s novel begins indirectly with Madeleine and the final chapter is Madeleine’s and I imagine this wonder as a 60-something, crusty but ultimately kindly, passionately talkative and high-strung chain-smoking workaholic with an eye for younger men. The other principal story lines were about Colleen, a hurting, confused and terribly misbehaving teen; Frank a very young man trau ...more
Feb 23, 2017 Anita rated it liked it
Strange characters, with a slightly unresolved ending . Lisa Moore writes in such a compelling way I just couldn't help but be intrigued with this book. I would definitely read more of her books.
Nov 28, 2008 Jennifer rated it liked it
Recommends it for: anyone who is curious why a book called Alligator is set in Newfoundland
Recommended to Jennifer by: Kelly (sort of)
Shelves: read-2009
This book was loaned to me by a friend who attached a post-it that said the following: "I made it through page 7 and just did not want any more images in my head. If you read it and it turns out good, let me know." Here goes . . .

Lisa Moore's novel does begin with some rather gruesome images--one of the main characters, Colleen, a teenage eco-terrorist in training, watchs some video footage taken by her filmmaker aunt, Madeline. The clip shows a man down in Florida (who puts his head into the ja
Dec 24, 2013 Ellen rated it it was ok
Two stars - "It was OK". This book was "just" OK for a couple of reasons. I think the biggest reason I'm giving it only two stars is because of the writing. I found the writing really "choppy". I think I understand the effect she was going for - how our thoughts do jump around quite a bit, they are not exactly linear, but I found it really irritating. In places, I found her to be trying too hard to capture the way a person's thoughts might jump from this to that. Also, she made it a little trick ...more
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Lisa Moore has written two collections of stories, Degrees of Nakedness and Open, as well as a novel, Alligator.

Open and Alligator were both nominated for the Giller Prize. Alligator won the Commonwealth Prize for the Canadian Caribbean Region and the ReLit Award, and Open won the Canadian Authors' Association Jubilee Prize for Short Fiction.

Lisa has also written for television, radio, magazines (
More about Lisa Moore...

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“While he sat there he decided he would buy a waterbed. He had always imagined owning a waterbed when he was successful, but now it struck him that getting the bed might invoke the man he wanted to become. You bought a waterbed and so became the sort of man who owned a waterbed.” 3 likes
“Afraid was good, he thought. Change requires fear, he knew this too.” 1 likes
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