Island: The Complete Stories

Island: The Complete Stories

by Alistair MacLeod


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Winner of the PEN/Malamud Award: “The genius of his stories is to render his fictional world as timeless.”—Colm Tóibín

The 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.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780393341188
Publisher: Norton, W. W. & Company, Inc.
Publication date: 11/28/2011
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 448
Sales rank: 378,847
Product dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.20(h) x 0.50(d)

About the Author

Alistair MacLeod (1936—2014), raised in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, was an acclaimed Canadian novelist, short story writer, and academic.

Table of Contents

The Boat (1968) 1

The Vastness of the Dark (1971) 26

The Golden Gift of Grey (1971) 59

The Return (1971) 79

In the Fall (1973) 98

The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1974) 118

The Road to Rankin's Point (1976) 143

The Closing Down of Summer (1976) 180

To Every Thing There Is a Season (1977) 209

Second Spring (1980) 218

Winter Dog (1981) 249

The Tuning of Perfection (1984) 271

As Birds Bring Forth the Sun (1985) 310

Vision (1986) 321

Island (1988) 369

Clearances (1999) 413

Acknowledgements 433

Customer Reviews

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Island: The Complete Stories 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 8 reviews.
Iudita on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book is a wonderful collection of short stories based mostly in Cape Breton. Each and every story is beautifully written. MacLeod is a gifted writer who has a gentle sincere style that sets the mood and the scene so well, that you feel as though you lived the experience yourself. There are no bells and whistles to his writing...just his voice, which pulls you right into the hearts and lives of the people of the East coast. I loved the characters, I loved the places and I loved the stories. I would highly recommend this book to people who enjoy reading Canadian literature.
canread on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The beautiful prose flows perfectly in these stories of a changing culture, the educated sons of fishermen, miners and farmers, and the burden they carry, that of the transitional ones who by doing their father's wishes will end their kind.
bobprior on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Brilliant short stories, finely crafted with not a single wasted word. Beautifully captures the complex lives and relationships of seemingly simple people living difficult lives in a stark landscape.
-Cee- on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
If you love reading about the sea and the hardscrabble life of islanders on the Atlantic coast of Canada, this book will play beautiful music deep in your heart. At first I had a little trouble immersing myself in a different culture. Ultimately, due to MacLeod¿s amazing ability to bare the human soul, it all felt familiar and really moved me. Family strength and loyalty in the grip of life¿s struggle to exist and inevitable loss permeate this woven tapestry of somewhat related short stories. Presented in chronological progression, as written by MacLeod, this collection creates a vivid picture of Cape Breton¿s generations, occupations, landscapes and sea. The focus of narration moves from a youthful perspective at the beginning of the book to the ponderings of old age at the end. This may have been intentional or just the advancing age of the author as he wrote the stories. At any rate, it gives the book a cohesiveness and sense of unfolding wisdom.While this book is of sadness, isolation, hidden emotions and hardship it is written with strength of spirit and pride of ancestry. MacLeod writes with an open honesty and aching beauty of the inner and outer landscapes of human emotions and nature¿s unforgiving dominance in these northern islands. Love takes many shapes; sustains many relationships and lonely souls. Those who are sensitive to death and loss may find this book a challenge. Or, like myself, may discover memorable gems of rare beauty in MacLeod¿s work.
LilMiriam on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
An amazing and moving work. It will leave you wanting more of Alistair MacLeod. These stories are snapshots of life that you will never forget.
JKW24 More than 1 year ago
I am not a short story reader. This book of short stories had me mesmerized from the first story. At the end of almost all of the stories the tears came before I knew I was crying. His characters are so fully rounded that I felt I knew them. Each story was told from one point of view. This allowed the feelings and the errors of their thinking to be much more pronounced. The family connections were well established. I am unfamiliar with the terrain and the weather. He put me into the story with magnificent details. The children were totally in the moment and their thoughts during complicated situations were riveting.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Guest More than 1 year ago
Allistair, thanks for the memories ... his honesty, clarity and depiction are accurate and memorable. There is something in his writing that makes us think about family and history. Read it.