Empire Falls did for dying smalltown Maine and The Sp"/>

Alligator

Lisa Moore, Author . Grove/Black Cat $13 (306p) ISBN 978-0-8021-7025-5

The powerful American debut of Canadian bestseller Moore does for Newfoundland what Empire Falls did for dying smalltown Maine and The Sportswriter did for suburban New Jersey. Seventeen-year-old Colleen Clark and her mother, Beverly, can't overcome their grief over the sudden death of David, Beverly's husband and Colleen's stepfather. While Beverly copes by dieting and retreating into herself, Colleen downloads videos of beheadings off the Internet and tries her hand at eco-terrorism ("I wanted to change things," she says about dumping sugar into a bulldozer's gas tank) before running away to Louisiana—where alligators troll the bayou. Madeleine, Beverly's older sister, scrambles to finish her cinematic opus before her heart—heavy with longing for her youth and gradually weakening due to an unnamed medical condition—gives out. Frank, a 19-year-old still reeling from his mother's death from cancer, obsesses over Colleen and finds himself intertwined with Valentin, a Russian gangster with his own tormented past. Powerfully drawn secondary characters—an actress in Madeleine's film, Valentin's lover—add depth to this generous novel. (Sept. 21)

Reviewed on: 05/08/2006
Release date: 09/01/2006
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