The Flea Market


222 pages
ISBN 1-894800-28-1
DDC C813'.54






Reviewed by Matt Hartman

Matt Hartman is a freelance editor and cataloguer, running Hartman Cataloguing, Editing and Indexing Services.


There is a basic problem with this sequel to The Blue Parrot (1999):
Moore has a woman tell the story. Eve is an agent for a Vancouver
modelling agency. She is hard-boiled but sensitive. She has been
trampled on by men (first a husband, then a lover). She is smart. She is
brave. She is, let us assume, all the things Moore thinks a woman should
be. In addition, he lets her swear like a sailor, feel horny more often
than not, and swing a weighted handbag at any man who takes advantage.
Trouble is, Eve and the other central character, Laine, the owner of the
agency, are two-dimensional stick figures. Their primary function is to
serve as the author’s soapbox for rants against conspicuous
consumption, built-in obsolescence, and the shallowness of the world of
fashion and advertising.

It is hard to know why Moore chose to use a woman as omniscient
narrator. He has all kinds of trouble with the voice. The differences
between men and women may be overrated, but, let’s be honest: there
are differences. Moore can’t see them—not in dialogue, not in speech
patterns, not in sensibility. While Eve strives to throw off the cushy
trappings of her pampered lifestyle (much to Laine’s disgust), she
coincidentally meets and moves in with Laine’s former husband, Buzz,
who runs a second-hand store in a seedy part of the city. Coincidence is
another of Moore’s difficulties in this novel. There are just too many
of them, and most are unnecessary to move the novel forward. Finally,
Moore has a tendency toward wordiness (too many place names, brands of
dinnerware, etc.) and too little characterization. One hopes for a
better effort next time.


Moore, John., “The Flea Market,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 24, 2024,