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The superbly crafted stories collected in Alistair MacLeod's As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories depict men and women acting out their "own peculiar mortality" against the haunting landscape of Cape Breton Island. In a voice at once elegiac and life-affirming, MacLeod describes a vital present inhabited by the unquiet spirits of a Highland past, invoking memory and myth to celebrate the continuity of the generations even in the midst of unremitting change.His second collection, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories confirms MacLeod's international reputation as a storyteller of rare talent and inspiration.From the Trade Paperback edition.
Alistair MacLeod has been hailed internationally as a master of the short story. Now MacLeod's collected stories, including two never before published, are gathered together for the first time in Island. These sixteen superbly crafted stories, most of them firmly based in Cape Breton even if its people stray elsewhere, depict men and women living out their lives against the haunting landscape that surrounds them. Focusing on the complexities and abiding mysteries at the heart of human relationships, MacLeod maps the close bonds and impassable chasms that lie between man and woman, parent and child, and invokes memory and myth to celebrate the continuity of the generations, even in the midst of unremitting change. Eloquent, humane, powerful, and told in a voice at once elegiac and life-affirming, the stories in this astonishing collection seize us from the outset and remain with us long after the final page.From the Hardcover edition.
Winner of the PEN/Malamud Award: "The genius of his stories is to render his fictional world as timeless."--Colm Tóibín The sixteen exquisitely crafted stories in Island prove Alistair MacLeod to be a master. Quietly, precisely, he has created a body of work that is among the greatest to appear in English in the last fifty years. A book-besotted patriarch releases his only son from the obligations of the sea. A father provokes his young son to violence when he reluctantly sells the family horse. A passionate girl who grows up on a nearly deserted island turns into an ever-wistful woman when her one true love is felled by a logging accident. A dying young man listens to his grandmother play the old Gaelic songs on her ancient violin as they both fend off the inevitable. The events that propel MacLeod's stories convince us of the importance of tradition, the beauty of the landscape, and the necessity of memory.
The stories of The Lost Salt Gift of Blood are remarkably simple - a family is drawn together by shared and separate losses, a child's reality conflicts with his parents' memories, a young man struggles to come to terms with the loss of his father.Yet each piece of writing in this critically acclaimed collection is infused with a powerful life of its own, a precision of language and a scrupulous fidelity to the reality of time and place, of sea and Maritime farm.Focusing on the complexities and abiding mysteries at the heart of human relationships, the seven stories of The Lost Salt Gift of Blood map the close bonds and impassable chasms that lie between man and woman, parent and child.From the Paperback edition.
Alexander MacDonald guides us through his family's mythic past as he recollects the heroic stories of his people: loggers, miners, drinkers, adventurers; men forever in exile, forever linked to their clan. There is the legendary patriarch who left the Scottish Highlands in 1779 and resettled in "the land of trees," where his descendents became a separate Nova Scotia clan. There is the team of brothers and cousins, expert miners in demand around the world for their dangerous skills. And there is Alexander and his twin sister, who have left Cape Breton and prospered, yet are haunted by the past. Elegiac, hypnotic, by turns joyful and sad, No Great Mischief is a spellbinding story of family, loyalty, exile, and of the blood ties that bind us, generations later, to the land from which our ancestors came.From the Hardcover edition.
From the internationally celebrated author of No Great Mischief comes a moving short story of three generations of men from a single family whose lives are forever altered by the long shadow of war. In the early morning hours of November 11, David MacDonald, a veteran of the Second World War, stands outside his Cape Breton home, preparing to attend what will likely be his last Remembrance Day parade. As he waits for the arrival of his son and grandson, he remembers his decision to go to war in desperation to support his young family. He remembers the horrors of life at the frontlines in Ortona, Italy, and then what happened in Holland when the Canadians arrived as liberators. He remembers how the war devastated his own family, but gave him other reasons to live. As the story unfolds, other generations enter the scene. What emerges is an elegant, life-affirming meditation on the bond between fathers and sons, "how the present always comes out of the past," and how even in the midst of tragedy and misfortune there exists the possibility for salvation. His first new short story in over a decade, Remembrance is a powerful reminder of why Alistair MacLeod is one of the most beloved storytellers of our time.
The story is simple, seen through the eyes of an 11-year-old boy. As an adult he remembers the way things were back home on the farm on the west coast of Cape Breton. The time was the 1940s, but the hens and the cows and the pigs and the sheep and the horse made it seem ancient. The family of six children excitedly waits for Christmas and two-year-old Kenneth, who liked Halloween a lot, asks, "Who are you going to dress up as at Christmas? I think I'll be a snowman." They wait especially for their oldest brother, Neil, working on "the Lake boats" in Ontario, who sends intriguing packages of "clothes" back for Christmas. On Christmas Eve he arrives, to the delight of his young siblings, and shoes the horse before taking them by sleigh through the woods to the nearby church. The adults, including the narrator for the first time, sit up late to play the gift-wrapping role of Santa Claus. The story is simple, short and sweet, but with a foretaste of sorrow. Not a word is out of place. Matching and enhancingthe text are black and white illustrations by Peter Rankin, making this book a perfect little gift. For readers from nine to ninety-nine, our classic Christmas story by one of our greatest writers.
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