E Books Island The Complete Stories April Rest in peace Alistair MacLeod Died April I have been meaning to re read this collection since I first read it almost six years ago No
E-Books Island: The Complete Stories April 21, 2014: Rest in peace, Alistair MacLeod. Died April 20, 2014. I have been meaning to re-read this collection since I first read it almost six years ago. Now is a good time for me to do that, in memory of this extraordinary storyteller.YOWZA, this guy can write! Holy prose, Batman! 4.5 stars for this beauty of a book.This is a collection of sixteen stories, published between 1968 and 1999. All of the stories take place on or near the author's native Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He writes with such a quiet beauty about the local people and landscape, as the people go about making a living at fishing, coal mining, raising animals, and so on.My favorite three stories: BEST: "Island"----This story knocked my socks off. He managed to get all the elements of a fine novel in a story of only forty-four pages. It's about a woman who is the last in a long family line of lighthouse keepers. It's spooky and beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I found myself weeping a few pages from the end, and when I finished the story, I couldn't read anything else for hours afterward. I was absolutely stunned, and I still get chills thinking about this story. DAMN! Did I happen to mention this guy can WRITE?! (Are you rolling your eyes at me yet?)#2) "The Lost Salt Gift of Blood"#3) "To Everything There is a Season" There was only one story I wasn't all that thrilled with: "Second Spring." It wasn't terrible, just so-so for me. . Island: The Complete Stories is a Book The genius of his stories is to render his fictional world as timeless Colm T ib nThe 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 se The genius of his stories is to render his fictional world as timeless Colm T ib nThe 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.. When MacLeod was ten his family moved to a farm in Dunvegan, Inverness County on Nova Scotia s Cape Breton Island After completing high school, MacLeod attended teacher s college in Truro and then taught school He studied at St Francis Xavier University between 1957 and 1960 and graduated with a BA and B.Ed He then went on to receive his MA in 1961 from the University of New Brunswick and his PhD in 1968 from the University of Notre Dame A specialist in British literature of the nineteenth century, MacLeod taught English for three years at Indiana University before accepting a post in 1969 at the University of Windsor as professor of English and creative writing During the summer, his family resided in Cape Breton, where he spent part of his time writing in a cliff top cabin looking west towards Prince Edward Island.. A viral Books Island: The Complete Stories Reviewed in 2012Although 'Island’ is clearly fiction, I prefer to imagine this collection of stories as the portrait of a community and its history and traditions, as if Alastair MacLeod were in reality a social geographer in the mode of Henry Glassie and had collected these stories from the people of his community and then retold them in his own words. And I say ‘his’ community not only because I know he grew up on Cape Breton Island but also because of the love of the people, the animals, the land and the sea that is woven into every sentence, many of which I read again and again, revelling in the searing truth and beauty of the images.This chronologically arranged collection is composed of stories written between 1968 and 1999, which makes it very interesting to the reader who is new to MacLeod because we see the evolution in his writing and thinking. The early stories tend to be classic and tightly constructed while the later ones are more expansive, containing stories within stories, but are even more powerful in spite of that looseness of structure. I began to have real difficulty leaving the characters of each story behind from ‘Rankin’s Point’ onwards but at the same time the common landscape of the collection allows you to stay in the atmosphere of the previous tale even as you move on to the next. There is also a more meditative strain in the later stories as MacLeod begins to reflect on the passing of a way of life that he respects so much. He also focuses more on the Scottish origins of his characters and on Scots Gaelic and Scottish legends in the later stories, as if, being older, he is now more preoccupied with the distant past.The characters are by turns isolated farmers, fishermen, miners; sometimes they can be all three at once. Their world is a masculine one of complex relationships between sons, fathers and grandfathers, as well as close ties to beloved dogs and horses. This is a world of strong physical work and women women appear mostly in the background although there are a few fine portraits of women, women who are feared, venerated, or simply loved.As I was reading, I was reminded of the writing of John McGahern who also wrote beautifully about his own place and then I remembered where I had heard of MacLeod for the first time: in McGahern's Love of the World: Essays, a volume that includes some of the book reviews he did for a few select journals. McGahern didn't write many reviews but MacLeod was among them and he gave him the highest praise.This collection has a prime place on my bookshelves.