Winner of the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction (Manitoba Writing and Publishing Awards)
At Moon Lake the moose come to drink and the waves lap on the rocky shores of the Canadian Shield. But the serenity of the land and lake are disturbed by the inexorable violence that follows the LaFlamme family through several decades.
LaFlamme is an abusive and explosive man who hurts everyone around him. When he meets a violent end, everyone is suspect: his wife and children, whom he tormented, the farm hands he mistreated, and the Native trappers he cheated. No one laments putting him in the ground, but that doesn't end the pain that LaFlamme has brought to Moon Lake, and his children must follow their own paths to healing.
The dispersed siblings are summoned back to Moon Lake by another death, and the wounds of twenty-five years ago are re-opened. Despite their resentments, Moon Lake is the place of this family's birth and they cannot shake its pull. LaFlamme has left a vacuum in their lives that each must fill.
"I highly recommend this book...Moon Lake will remind you of the last small town you were in and the rumours that abound in coffee shops."
- Laura Robinson, The Globe and Mail
Suggested Book Club Questions for Moon Lake
- Moon Lake is set in an actual Manitoba location and deals with events that occurred many years ago. How might that effect someone's reading of the novel?
- The novel opens with a violent scene: what might be the point of such an opening?
- In the early going of the novel there's some confusion about who is referred to by certain pronouns such as "she" and "he." What is the point of such deliberate confusion?
- The LaFlamme family shares a dark secret: what is it and how does it color the family relations?
- Alexander arrives a stranger to the goings-on at Moon Lake. Why is it important (useful) that he is an outsider?
- One reviewer has said that in Moon Lake the setting functions as a character. What sort of character might that be?
- Another reviewer entitled a review, "In The Wild And Wanton Woods." What do you think was meant by that?
- What does Alexander think he sees through the kitchen window on the night of his arrival at Moon Lake? How does this effect the development of the plot?
- How does the discovery that Alexander makes in the shed effect the plot?
- When the Mountie and the doctor arrive, they have suspicions about the death of LaFlamme: do they concur on what happened?
- Which of the two daughters do you like better in Part I and why?
- Toward the end of Part I who does the Mountie suspect committed the murder?
- Aboriginals are given quite a bit of treatment in the novel. Are they treated fairly by the other characters? By the author?
- At the conclusion of Part I who do you suspect committed the murder?
- In the novel Heart of Darkness, the novelist Joseph Conrad says that people behave differently in situations where the usual social restraints do not operate: do you think that comment pertains to Moon Lake?
- Epigraphs, the brief literary allusions at the beginnings of books and chapters of books, are meant by the author to cast light on their work. How do the two epigraphs of Moon Lake do this?
- Part II of Moon Lake opens on a quiet, domestic note. What might this suggest about the way things have evolved for the characters?
- Are you surprised at the relationship that Ruth is in at the beginning of Part II?
- What has happened to Ruth's sister in the years that have elapsed between Part I and Part II?
- Which of the two sisters do you like more in Part II and why?
- Who does the Mountie suspect of the murder(s) as the novel moves towards its denouement?
- Do you like the character called "the Finn" more in Part I or in Part II?
- There are a number of eerie events in Moon Lake: out-of-body experiences and the like. What is their function?
- Which character in Moon Lake made the strongest impression on you?
- Is the author better at evoking women or men characters?
- What is the function of the final paragraphs of the novel?
- Moon Lake closes somewhat ambiguously as regards the identity of the murderer: does this bother you?
- A famous writer once said, "A novel is a sustained piece of prose fiction that is ”flawed." What might be the flaw(s) of Moon Lake?
- "Moon Lake" is a fairly direct and simple title for this novel. What other titles might it have been given?
- Which, if any, books does Moon Lake remind you of? Movies?
Wayne Tefs was born in Winnipeg and grew up in northwestern Ontario. He edited a number of anthologies and published nine novels and a work of non-fiction. His novel Moon Lake received the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction in 2000 and his novel Be Wolf won the 2007 McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award. Wayne Tefs died in 2014.