This is How We Love by Lisa Moore

Whenever Newfoundland writer Lisa Moore gifts us with a book, it is a reason to celebrate. Noted for her many accomplishments including Alligator, February, Caught, Flannery, as well as her short story collections, Lisa Moore’s characters demand to be known, heard, and examined. Her stories invite us into a world of her making, but with thoughts of perhaps being somewhere familiar, yet not so. It is her steady hand that grabs us and weaves us deeply into her land of story, writing with elegance to guide us through the elements, while at the same time submerging us.  Lisa Moore’s latest offering This is How We Love is no exception*.

The story opens with a young man, Xavier, having been viciously attacked, while his parents are away on a winter vacation in Mexico. Parents Joe and Jules are asleep when the ringing of their cell phones breaks into the night, first Jules’s phone goes off, then Joe’s. As with all of us faced with a middle-of-the-night phone call, they feel, “Something has happened; we know that before we get to the phones.” Jules’s sister tells her about the attack and that they have to get home because Xavier is in surgery, and she’s been told that it’s critical. The news from Jules’s sister is exactly what every parent dreads. Scrambling to get to their son, they find that only one of them is able to book a flight out of Mexico for back home. Joe stays behind and his wife leaves, alone, on an urgent trip back to Newfoundland, anxious to get to their son. Once back in Newfoundland, Xavier’s mother must trek through a raging St. John’s winter storm hoping to reach him before it’s too late.

Lisa Moore unwinds the story by skillfully revealing the cast of characters in a past and present scenario. The story unfolds much like the steady surge of ocean waves, ebbing and flowing, in and out of the lives of the characters. From the beginning, I was immediately grabbed by the mystery – how did Xavier end up in this predicament? I could not turn the pages fast enough, driven to find out more. Yet, I savoured each paragraph as the personalities developed and their stories rolled off of the page. Lisa Moore shapes This is How We Love by delving into the characters’ backgrounds with incredible insight, and transitions to the present smoothly and seamlessly. Very soon I realized, I know these people – I am these people. 

This book is ultimately about family and what defines us, what limits us, and what we celebrate? What tears at us and what supports us?  You will want to read This is How We Love in one sitting. Why? Because it won’t leave you alone. The characters live with you and in you and will remain long after you have read the last page. The writing is stellar, and the story is a standout of originality, yet holds within it the commonality of what we share. This is How We Love by Lisa Moore is truly a masterpiece.

(*This review was based on an advance reading copy supplied by House of Anansi)

Lisa Moore was born and grew up in St. John’s Newfoundland, Canada. She has written three collections of short stories, Degrees of Nakedness and Open, and Something for Everyone, and three novels, Alligator, February and Caught, as well as a stage play, based on her novel February. Lisa’s has also written a young adult novel called Flannery.

Alligator and Caught, and her short story collection Open were nominated for the Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her novel February was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and won CBC Canada Reads in 2013. She is also the winner of the Writer’s Trust Engel Findley Award for Fiction and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for the Canada/Caribbean region. Something for Everyone was long-listed for the Giller Prize and won the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.

Lisa has studied conceptual art at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and is an Associate Professor in the English Department of Memorial University where she teaches Creative Writing. She spends a lot of time in the woods, swimming in rivers and lakes, and writing by the wood stove in the winter.

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ House of Anansi Press (May 3 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 400 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 1487001193
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-1487001193

Managing Editor

TMR’s Managing Editor Carrie Stanton has a BA in Political Science from the University of Calgary. She is the author of The Jewel and Beast Bot, and picture books, Emmie and the Fierce Dragon and The Gardener. Carrie loves to write stories that grow wings and transport readers everywhere.  She reads and enjoys stories from every genre.