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First Novels
by W.P. Kinsella

Alligator by Lisa Moore (House of Anansi, $29.95, 303 pages, ISBN: 0887841953). It is certainly curious that this very average first novel was on the shortlist for the Giller Prize. There are a group of interesting characters who interact, but the novel's main shortcoming is that it is no one's story. There is no central character. Beverly is a grief-stricken widow; her teenage daughter Colleen is a tramp, and a failed eco-terrorist. Beverly's older sister, Madeleine, has been a pretentious documentary filmmaker (aren't they all?) who is trying to finish a pretentious art film before she dies. Frank is a rather simple young man who runs a hot dog stand, which is coveted by a brutal Russian illegal, who also terrorizes a fragile actress working on Madeleine's film. There you have it; there are various permutations and combinations of interactions, all set in St. John's, Newfoundland. The prose is readable and even interesting at times, but the book has no wow factor, and as I said above is just plain average from start to finish.

W. P. Kinsella writes a column for the Vancouver Province and travels to Scrabble Tournaments.

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