Caught by Lisa Moore is a slim novel that tells a big story. This is the same author who wrote February, the 2013 winner of Canada Reads.
Moore has a way with words, able to capture a character in a gesture or defining moment. Slaney, the escaped convict, eating cookies from his mother’s cookie tin. Patterson wearing shirts' sizes he has long since outgrown. Ada poking someone into a corner.
The word caught repeats itself as a motif, like a musical round or a tide. Everyone is caught, to some extent, in this fast-paced story about drug-running and smuggling set in the late 70's.
What I personally loved were Moore's descriptions of boats and sailing, which quickly evoked sensory moments that sucked me into the story and made me participate in the moment:
"They should have been going ten knots at most and there were times they were going twelve. The wind was thirty knots and it felt like it might tear them asunder. They loved it. It terrified them. All the wave-sparkle and the crashing down. The knocking from side to side..." (p.212)
"The mast in silhouette, a needle swaying gently like a metronome. And the soldiers lounging on the deck, black against the orange and azure sky." (p 257)
What also struck me was the ending, so much like a beginning. It made me think of other recent novels I've read over the summer, with endings that finish as openings. Especially Mantel's closing lines in Bring Up the Bodies, "There are no endings. If you think so you are deceived as to their nature. They are all beginnings. Here is one."