Alistair MacLeod musters all of the skill and grace that have won him an international following to give us No Great Mischief, the story of a fiercely loyal family and the tradition that drives it.Generations after their forebears went into exile, the MacDonalds still face seemingly unmitigated hardships and cruelties of life Alexander, orphaned as a child by a horrific tAlistair MacLeod musters all of the skill and grace that have won him an international following to give us No Great Mischief, the story of a fiercely loyal family and the tradition that drives it.Generations after their forebears went into exile, the MacDonalds still face seemingly unmitigated hardships and cruelties of life Alexander, orphaned as a child by a horrific tragedy, has nevertheless gained some success in the world Even his older brother, Calum, a nearly destitute alcoholic living on Toronto s skid row, has been scarred by another tragedy But, like all his clansman, Alexander is sustained by a family history that seems to run through his veins And through these lovingly recounted stories wildly comic or heartbreakingly tragic we discover the hope against hope upon which every family must sometimes rely.
No Great Mischief Alistair MacLeod musters all of the skill and grace that have won him an international following to give us No Great Mischief the story of a fiercely loyal family and the tradition that drives it Gen
April 21, 2014 Rest in peace, Alistair MacLeod Died April 20, 2014.His extraordinary style will never be matched Another outstanding piece of storytelling from this great Canadian writer He uses repetition of images and phrases throughout the book as a very effective tool It gives the story both a rhythm and an anchor, continually bringing you back to reminders of what binds the clan and their shared history.This is the story of the Scottish clan of Calum the Red, who came to Nova Scotia over 20 [...]
I just learned that Alistair MacLeod died yesterday This shouldn t be such a shock he was 77, and suffered a major stroke in January which forced him to remain in a hospital in Windsor, Ontario a city where he lived and taught, and ultimately passed away I was reading materials on him work just a few weeks ago and he was still with us, and now he s not Despite being an acclaimed author in his native Canada and abroad, Mr MacLeod remained a very private person I had no idea about his condition, a [...]
We are all better when we re loved.1940s Cape Breton is a place untouched by modern ideas of individualism Here identity is not forged by choices made, but by birth into a history, birth into a clan, birth into your place in that lineage that stretches back to Calum Ruadh who came from Moidart to the New World in 1779 when he was a man of 55, who lived another 55 years in the land of trees, giving his life a strange sort of balance Who are your parents, who are your grandparents, those are the q [...]
I guess this is not my sort of book It is the tale of Scots in Cape Breton and in particular a branch of the MacDonalds, and makes much of how they never forgot their roots, always stick together, and still speak Gaelic It won various prizes and is considered the best Atlantic Canadian novel But how it got so esteemed I have no idea I found it tiresome and longwinded There is really not much of a plot except a bunch of disjointed anecdotes The characters are little than mouthpieces for their et [...]
My sister was silent for a moment Calum once told me, I said, that when they went back to the country, they went one day to cut a timber for the skidway they were making for their boat They went into a tightly packed grove of spruce down by the shore In the middle of the grove, they saw what they thought was the perfect tree It was tall and straight and over thirty feet high They notched it as they had been taught and then they sawed it with a bucksaw When they had sawed it completely through, n [...]
The lamp of the poor is hardly visible in urban southwestern Ontario, although there are many poor who move disjointedly beneath it And the stars are seldom clearly seen above the pollution of prosperity This, in short, is what I liked about the book Yes, I do mean that particular quote I know this is one of those books that a lot of people seem to really like, and I can understand why, but for me this was a frustrating and really annoying read To the extent that I even got annoyed with things I [...]
Set in Cape Breton in the nineteen seventies, No Great Mischief revolves around the visit of a successful orthodontist to his alcoholic brother eking out a miserable existence in a sqalid room above a shop in Toronto The visit is the starting point for a narrative that follows the fortunes of a group of Scots Canadians descended from one legendary eighteenth century immigrant Hardy and tightly knit in the face of recurring tragedy, the extended family see themselves and the rest of the world wit [...]
I really enjoyed this book much than I d expected to from reading the description I know very little about Canada s history or even its geography, so I actually found myself occasionally consulting a map to locate the relevant places from the text The writing was beautiful and managed to be sentimental without being sappy or sarcastic I d recommend this book to anyone looking for a powerful read that sneaks up on you as you re going along.
I absolutely loved this book I would recommend this book to anyone, especially if they are descendents from Scotland or Ireland It deals with the struggles that people have trying to hold onto their roots, yet becoming a part of a new society It s the old world vs the new world struggle Some embrace the modern world and leave their family and their legacy to be part of this world, while others desperately hold onto whatever heritage they have left and forfeit a lot to do it.Another aspect deals [...]
Alistair MacLeod doesn t waste a word as he tells the story of a fiercely loyal family bound by shared history and culture even as they move through tragedy after tragedy to make their way in the new country The story is told through the eyes of Alexander MacDonald, orphaned as a child by a terrible tragedy and raised by his grandparents Repetition of phrases, proverbs and themes, juxtaposition of current and past circumstances, reflection on the MacDonald clan s past tragic history, musings abo [...]
This was a Christmas gift from my mom, and it is also one that I would have bought for myself.It won several international awards, and the back cover and inside pages are lush with glowing reviews from across the literary landscape of esteemed writers and reviewers You can see where I m going with this, can t you It s a story that roots itself, for the most part, in my birthplace, Cape Breton, Nova Scotia And, it s a novelization about the MacDonald clan This novel had so much going for it for m [...]
MacLeod is a wonderful writer, but I found nothing to lure me to this fictional memoir of a family descended from Scotland Actually, I found most of the story quite boring other than certain characters relationships with animals The Gaelic inclusions were interesting but after a while I found myself skipping over these passages because I neither knew how to pronounce them nor how to translate them I really do not understand all the praise for this book it seemed that each time MacLeod hit upon a [...]
I read this book, quickly, in less than twenty four hours It really held my attention, and I was interested to see how it ended This novel won several major literary prizes when it was published in 1999 by Alistair Macleod, a Canadian writer The narrator is an orthodontist, who frequently visits his alcoholic older brother in a rundown rooming house on downtown Toronto These visits provide the opportunity for the narrator, Alexander MacDonald, to tell the story of his family s history in Canada, [...]
This is the second time I ve read this book, and I was teary eyed at the end again It s the story of the clann Chalum Ruaidh, or the Clan of Calum the Red, an 18th century Scottish Highlander who crossed the ocean to Nova Scotia His family, the following clann, has to come to terms with the fact that their somewhat famous ancestor crossed the ocean to start a new life with his family what end This is an absorbing novel, and MacLeod is an incredibly mature writer With anyone else, it might have s [...]
I thought this was one of the most poorly written books that I ve ever read I get the whole struggle of immigrants to hold on to their roots and the scourge of alcoholism, etc However, I found that the dialogue didn t ring true in that I don t think people actually speak the way it was written All the characters seemed to do was to rehash legends of their ancestors, which is all well and good But they were the same legends told over and over and didn t advance the plot at all And the constant re [...]
Beautifully written story about a remote community and an enduring family.
This haunting story stays with you long after you have put down the book.It is beautifully written, the descriptions of the settings are so evocative that I actually felt as if I had visited Cape Breton myself.It tells the story of a family, the MacDonalds, who leave Scotland in the late 18th Century to journey to Canada, and it follows the lives of their ancestors in the Cape Breton area of Nova Scotia Most of the MacDonald clan intermarry, so that they form a very tight knit community, who rem [...]
A friend recommended and dropped off this book for me to read In contemplating my review, I ve just decided to word for word hash out my text message to her on my feelings toward No Great Mischief That way I don t have to re think my feelings for this book a second time.Conversation Friend Did you like it Don t be afraid to tell me your true thought.Me I thought the book was alright, but definitely not a favorite Which slightly surprised me because this was a historical fiction novel and those a [...]
This book snuck up on me It started so slowly, with a successful orthodontist driving to visit his alcoholic older brother While this current actually 1970s storyline continues throughout the book, the majority of the novel consists of flashbacks which reveal the past and what brought the brothers to such different places in life These two brothers come from a huge Scottish Canadian clan, descended from the twelve children of Alexander MacDonald who settled on Cape Breton Island in Nova Scotia T [...]
This novel by the great Alistair MacLeod is one that I m sure is offered in creative writing classes If it s not, then it should be It is a novel about the MacDonald family They came from Scotland and settled in Cape Breton Canada looking for a better life But where the MacDonald s go, it seems that hardship and tragedy follows them On board ship, the MacDonald patriarch loses his wife, leaving his six children motherless He then marries his wife s sister and they have six children and then she [...]
Wonderful It s quite a novel clocking in at 281 pages in the edition I read, this covers much than what 281 pages usually covers the history, the family saga, the depth of characters, the richness of the setting are all here, delivered in a precise, beautiful prose You come to inhabit these people on Cape Breton, breathe their culture, appreciate their customs and beliefs, and love them You ll laugh at the jokes of Grandpa, you ll be touched by the dogs and by the strong family tie, and you ll [...]
Despite making it than halfway through this book yesterday on a plane, I found myself really uninvested in the characters and their disjointed story As a result, I basically just skimmed through the rest I can see why so many people like it, as it s quite well written, but it s surprisingly dull, given how esteemed it is The story of Alexander s parents and grandparents is quite interesting, and I actually was intrigued about where the story was going, but once the story starts to focus around [...]
How could I not like No Great Mischief This novel is about Elliot Lake, the town in which I was born, and also Sudbury, the town in which I currently reside Oh, and there s some uranium mining and rugged Northern Ontario terrain thrown in for good measure The story itself is not that bad either The impression I had when I read No Great Mischief was that of a novel made up of short stories Each chapter was almost autonomous from the rest of the story However, one could not understand them individ [...]
Came across this book and decided to reread it and see if I still loved it I do A the Great Canadian Novel by the late Alistair MacLeod This saga of the MacDonalds of Cape Breton starts with their historic emigration from Scotland These unforgettable details are necessary because the legend lives on in the family members A family tragedy haunts younger family members whose lives are altered in memorable ways Some MacDonalds move west to Ontario and some farther Great characters abound Grandpa an [...]
I am ambivalent about this book, and not sure whether or to whom to recommend it The prose is good, and the depiction of place and person compelling The problem I have is that most of the characters are basically thugs and punks I am not sure if I am supposed to somehow identify with them which I cannot, despite my Scots heritage , or to be put off which seems an odd motivation for a writer of fiction Unlike the main character, I cannot reconcile the two into a sensible whole Bottom line try it [...]
A fairly typical Canadian novel with flawed characters, tragic events and disfunctional families What truly sets this book apart is its precise writing that directly reflects the changing nature of the relationships There is hope and humour alongside the sadness and toil For anyone who wants to read a good Canadian novel, I would recommend this one.
I read this book about 16 years ago and gave it 4 stars then Today I am giving it 5 stars Middle age gives you a different perspective.
I bought this novel last year when in Scotland and picked it up last weekend, after a week of being unable to read or concentrate because of an accident my son had.The gentle, rolling rhythm of McLeod s prose carried me through this masterful work effortlessly and, now that it s finished, I know I ll miss the family depicted in the pages It s been voted Atlantic Canada s greatest book of all time and I m not in the least surprised.While I have little knowledge of the Scottish historical aspects [...]
This is a book which apparently won a lot of awards Based on reviews, most people love this book Maybe you will Sadly, I am in the minority of reviewers who did not care for it at all and can t understand the gushing The book took me nearly a month to get into, and I finally forced myself to finish it only because it was due back at the library and I d already invested over a hundred pages in it.I m still not entirely sure what the plot was I don t think there was one However, we get to see a lo [...]
A must read for every Canadian, maritimer, fisherman, redheaded Scot or Irishman Truly a pleasure.