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Island
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The collected stories by one of the greatest short-story writers in the world.

About the Author

Alistair MacLeod was born in1936 and raised in Cape Breton, Nove Scotia. He teaches at the University of Windsor, Ontario.

Reviews

HCollected in one edition for the first time, the 16 short stories of Canadian writer MacLeod (No Great Mischief) span 30 years of his career and brilliantly evoke the lives of the people of his native Cape Breton Island. The place itself is conjured as a characterDthe stories are anchored by descriptive passages of lobster fishing, the gray waves of the Atlantic, the deep freeze of winter and the Nova Scotian dawn. Coming-of-age experiences are rendered through pivotal moments: "The Return" describes a first-time visit to the island through the eyes of a 10-year-old boy, and "In the Fall" evokes an incident on a family farm and a boy's growing comprehension of the things that are out of his parents' control. "Second Spring"Dthe only story to hit a comic note in the often somber collectionDis the tale of a seventh-grade boy's desire to breed the perfect calf. One of MacLeod's hallmarks is the nesting of tales within tales: in "The Road to Rankin's Point," a dying young man who returns to his grandmother's house high among the island's treacherous cliffs relays the earlier story of his grandfather's death and the harsh but determined life that followed. Themes of family, work, superstition and Scottish tradition enlarge these beautifully crafted stories. (Feb.) Forecast: McLeod made it onto public radar screens with the much-heralded publication earlier this year of his first novel, No Great Mischief, but he was included on the Modern Library's list of the 200 greatest writers in English since 1950 solely on the basis of his stories. Fans of the novel will likely approach Island as something new, since the original two collections reissued here in one volume are out of print. Expect healthy sales. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.

"A lifetime's achievement in more than one sense" Sunday Times "Startling in their simple perfection" Sunday Tribune "Provokingly singular and rare, an island of richness" Guardian "Beautifully crafted stories: elegiac, honest, proud, and both eloquent and taciturn, like their subjects...a wonderfully talented writer" Margaret Atwood "Rarely does a great writer offer himself to us with an oeuvre so complete" New York Times Book Review

One of Canada's most important writers, MacLeod grew up in Cape Breton. Here he presents a powerful collection of short stories set on Canada's Eastern shore, where the traditions and Gaelic language of transplanted Scots continue in a harsh new world. All of these affecting, elegiac tales focus on the strong ties of loving kin, particularly the link between fathers and sons. Fathers share the experience of work with their sons, and boys puzzle over family events and tragedies and learn to be men in the close-knit communities. Sadly, as times change, fathers lose their sons, who become educated men and leave the land and sea for professions in the city. MacLeod's characters are deeply touching and memorable, and their simple lives are rich with loyalty and affection for their families and way of life. The sumptuous language, which immerses the reader in this stunning but unrelenting land, begs to be read aloud. A very special collection; recommended for all public libraries.DCathleen A. Towey, Port Washington P.L., NY Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

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