Island: The Complete Stories Paperback
|New from||Used from|
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
No Kindle device required. Download one of the Free Kindle apps to start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, and computer.
To get the free app, enter your e-mail address or mobile phone number.
What Other Items Do Customers Buy After Viewing This Item?
Top Customer Reviews
MacLeod's characters are a dying breed, people we don't see many of these days: coal miners, fishermen, farmers, lighthouse keepers. They are a people held together by a strong Gaelic thread; they speak Gaelic, sing Gaelic songs and live lives upheld and reinforced by strong Gaelic traditions. They are a rural people and they very much prefer things to stay the way they have been.
But, as we all know, things never stay the way they have been. MacLeod's rural characters are the older ones. The younger ones have left the lonely farms of Cape Breton to work and study in the cities. The tourists are moving in, and, finding the Cape Breton landscape "unspoiled," and, therefore, very much to their liking, they are spoiling and defiling it, taking the first steps toward turning it into the very thing from which they wish to escape.
In "Island," MacLeod, writes mainly of the modern, city-wise, young people who come home to visit the dying world from which they wanted to escape. What they find is a world and a culture that will not die, that refuses to be obliterated. "The Closing Down of Summer" is a story that illustrates this persistence of the past perfectly.
MacLeod is at his best in this collection of stories. His prose is emotional but never maudlin, precise but never terse and it possesses a rhythm so Gaelic it can't fail to strike a chord of recognition in anyone who is in the least bit familiar with Cape Breton and its inhabitants.Read more ›
MacLeod uses the voices of generations of Canadians who always remember that they are Scots. They are Scottish even if they have never seen their country or never even know just where their forebears belonged.
The stories are simple. In the Golden Gift of Grey, eighteen year old Jesse pockets his first pool balls and his first winning dollars. Macleod makes scenes like this live through the smells of the bar, its men's washroom and the gyrations of the dancer. The edge of Jesse's tension is seen through the limp, damp dollar notes of his winnings, crammed in a ball in his pockets. The twist to end the story is satisfying, if predictable.
Some of the stories are tough and tell of a harsh life. Again MacLeod evokes his scenes through heat and cold, rain and hail and snow and through light and dark. His men can be mean and cautious, but also complicated and kind, especially the many grandfathers. In To Everything There is a Season, Macleod is able to build a tension in a little story about a son's homecoming at Christmas that would do justice to a suspense story.
Macleod is a craftsman writer. He shows his characters through their scenes rather than through descriptive narrative about personality. These are very satisfying stories and I have to say that I hunger for more of the tales of Cape Breton from this writer.
These stories may indeed be short when measured by the page; however any given piece that you care to choose is essentially faultless. The concept of, "second sight", is a subject that arises in some of these tales, and while Mr. MacLeod may not have that particular brand of vision, he like any great writer does see things differently than most people perceive them. And his sensitivity to detail extends to the other senses, and then he is able to place it upon pages for the rest of us to enjoy. He engages the reader on every level with the environment he creates, the sounds, and the very texture of the places he brings you to. This is the kind of work that you get so deeply involved with that you think about these people as real, as real as the names of the places they live, work, and die that appear on a map.
I don't believe there is one transcendent theme he is presenting with these stories, there is far too much involved in each to place a label on them all. The climate is as vital as many of his characters, and he imbues it with personality that is nearly sentient.Read more ›
Most recent customer reviews
Great short stories in a maritime style of stark, melancholic life. Very emotional storylines with believable characters. Read morePublished 13 months ago by doda
The writing is amazing. One of the best short story tellers I have ever read. Highly recommendable. Great service and expedited shipping.Published 14 months ago by GreenEyes
These stories take you to the core of Cape Breton, and into the souls of its families. A deeply moving collection of stories too good to read once.Published 15 months ago by Susana Bear River
This used book looked like new and I was able to offer it as a gift. Also, it arrived faster than expected. I was thrilled.Published 21 months ago by A. Kenney
Alistair MacLeod is one of Canada's best writers- 'nuff said. Set in Cape Breton, it gives an insight into the culture and mysteries of the region.Published 23 months ago by stephen boka
I would have to agree with a previous reviewer who said that while he appreciates the works of such a talent as Alistair MacLeod, this book is just not my cup of tea and I don't... Read morePublished on Nov. 19 2010 by Halifax Mary
One of the great lies existing within Canada is that the corner of the world known as "Cape Breton" is a mystical, haunting, culturally rich area. Read morePublished on Feb. 9 2002 by S Freud