Thursday, August 6, 2009

Read This Book

Seriously. It's written by a fellow Newfoundlander, Lisa Moore (and while you may expect that means it will be funny like a Rick Mercer rant, it will actually make your eyes all misty, in that really great way that's only brought about by reading a great book).

I don't know if many of you will recall the sinking of an oil rig off the coast of Newfoundland. It went down during a Valentine's Day storm in 1982 and claimed the lives of all 84 men on board. It was called the Ocean Ranger, and its sinking marks a terrible dark day in the lives of every Newfoundlander.

It is a day I remember oh-so-well. I recall being in a cab on my way to a lunch hour performance when they first read the names of the men who'd gone down with the oil rig. It was relentless. It was painful. It was long. 84 names. Spoken slowly by a radio announcer. With reverence. With sorrow.

And I remember being in a bar that night. Figgy Duff was playing (the band, not the pudding), and the usual shenanigans and goings-on were nowhere to be seen. The crowd was solemn, but still talking and arguing and drinking, until the band began singing "The Greenland Disaster". And in that loud, loud bar on Water Street, you could have heard a pin drop.

Sad comes the news from over the sea
From over the troubling main
To fill the hearts of those they loved
With sorrow and with pain....
To fill the hearts of those they loved
With sorrow and with pain.....

And while the song is about a sealing disaster that took place in 1914, that February night in 1982 it was also about the men on the Ocean Ranger who were swallowed by a fierce and freezing ocean. For years after the sinking of The Ocean Ranger, I tried to imagine what it must have felt like to stand on a slab of metal in the middle of an ocean, and watch as a 60 foot wave came right at you.

Lisa Moore has written a piece of fiction about a woman who is left behind when The Ocean Ranger slides into the Atlantic Ocean one stormy winter night and her husband drowns. February is a novel about loss and strength and it will bring you to the edge of tears - to the edge of your seat. 

You can order it here or here. But order it and read it, you must..... 

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