Alasta MacLeod Island

ISBN 13: 9780099422327

Island

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9780099422327: Island

These slow, beautiful stories - resolute and resonant - are small masterpieces: apparently simple but actually crafted with enormous skill and precision. Set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, they are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart, the unbreakable bonds and unbridgeable chasms between man and woman, parent and child. Steeped in memory and myth and washed in the brine and blood of the long battle with the land and the sea, these stories celebrate a passionate engagement with the natural world and a continuity of the generations in the face of transition, in the face of love and loss. As John McGahern says in his eloquent foreword: 'the work has a largeness, of feeling, of intellect, of vision, a great openness and generosity, even an old-fashioned courtliness. The stories stand securely outside of fashion while reflecting deep change'. Bringing together all Alistair MacLeod's short fiction, and including two previously uncollected stories, Island represents the great achievement of one of the world's finest storytellers.

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Review:

"Once there was a family with a Highland name who lived beside the sea." So begins "As Birds Bring Forth the Sun," a 1985 entry from Island. The story continues, "And the man had a dog of which he was very fond." And there you have the basic elements of an Alistair MacLeod story: dog, family, and sea. The author--whose 2000 novel No Great Mischief won him a measure of long-overdue acclaim--shuffles these elements into a surprisingly infinite variety of configurations, always with the same precise, confident, quiet language.

His big theme is the abandonment of the rural. Though his characters live in the fishing communities of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia, the seaside isn't a place where they dwell contentedly. In half the stories, young men and boys feel a pull toward academe and the center of the country. In the other half, academically successful middle-aged men return to the wild eastern coast of Canada to try to reclaim the life they left behind. Both dilemmas are impossible to resolve--no one can be both a city mouse and a country mouse--and MacLeod wisely doesn't offer easy solutions.

What makes the writing sing, though, is the specificity of his descriptions of rural life. He tells you exactly how things work: "The sheep move in and out of their lean-to shelter, restlessly stamping their feet or huddling together in tightly packed groups. A conspiracy of wool against the cold." The people here are ultimately defined by the physical world, and MacLeod has a farmer's visceral feel for geography. As he writes in "The Lost Salt Gift of Blood": "Even farther out, somewhere beyond Cape Spear lies Dublin and the Irish coast; far away but still the nearest land, and closer now than is Toronto or Detroit, to say nothing of North America's more western cities; seeming almost hazily visible now in imagination's mist." This is regional fiction in the best sense: it belongs to one perfectly evoked place. --Claire Dederer

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MacLeod, Alistair
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Book Description Vintage, 2002. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. These short stories are set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. They are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart, the unbreakable bonds between man and woman, parent and child. Num Pages: 448 pages. BIC Classification: FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 28. Weight in Grams: 306. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099422327

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Book Description Vintage Publishing, United Kingdom, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. These slow, beautiful stories - resolute and resonant - are small masterpieces: apparently simple but actually crafted with enormous skill and precision. Set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, they are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart, the unbreakable bonds and unbridgeable chasms between man and woman, parent and child. Steeped in memory and myth and washed in the brine and blood of the long battle with the land and the sea, these stories celebrate a passionate engagement with the natural world and a continuity of the generations in the face of transition, in the face of love and loss. As John McGahern says in his eloquent foreword: the work has a largeness, of feeling, of intellect, of vision, a great openness and generosity, even an old-fashioned courtliness. The stories stand securely outside of fashion while reflecting deep change . Bringing together all Alistair MacLeod s short fiction, and including two previously uncollected stories, Island represents the great achievement of one of the world s finest storytellers. Bookseller Inventory # AB99780099422327

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Book Description Vintage. Book Condition: New. 2002. New Ed. Paperback. These short stories are set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. They are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart, the unbreakable bonds between man and woman, parent and child. Num Pages: 448 pages. BIC Classification: FYB. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 198 x 129 x 28. Weight in Grams: 306. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099422327

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Book Description 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. Paperback. Set against the unforgiving landscape of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, these stories are all concerned with the complexities and mysteries of the human heart. Steeped in memory and myth and wa.Shipping may be from multiple locations in the US or from the UK, depending on stock availability. 448 pages. 0.300. Bookseller Inventory # 9780099422327

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Book Description Rh UK, 2002. Paperback. Book Condition: New. These slow, beautiful stories - resolute and resonant - are small masterpieces: apparently simple but actually crafted with enormous skill and precision. Bringing together all Alistair MacLeod's short fiction, and including two previously uncollected stories, Island represents the great achievement of one of the world's finest storytellers. Paperback. Bookseller Inventory # MM-40068997

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