No Great Mischief

No Great Mischief

by Alistair MacLeod
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No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

Alexander MacDonald guides us through his family’s mythic past as he recollects the heroic stories of his people: loggers, miners, drinkers, adventurers; men forever in exile, forever linked to their clan. There is the legendary patriarch who left the Scottish Highlands in 1779 and resettled in “the land of trees,” where his descendents became a separate Nova Scotia clan. There is the team of brothers and cousins, expert miners in demand around the world for their dangerous skills. And there is Alexander and his twin sister, who have left Cape Breton and prospered, yet are haunted by the past. Elegiac, hypnotic, by turns joyful and sad, No Great Mischief is a spellbinding story of family, loyalty, exile, and of the blood ties that bind us, generations later, to the land from which our ancestors came.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780375726651
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Publication date: 04/03/2001
Series: Vintage International Series
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 5.14(w) x 8.01(h) x 0.63(d)

About the Author

Alistair MacLeod was born in North Battleford, Saskatchewan, in 1936 and raised among an extended family in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He still spends his summers in Inverness County, writing in a clifftop cabin looking west towards Prince Edward Island. In his early years, to finance his education he worked as a logger, a miner, and a fisherman, and writes vividly and sympathetically about such work.

His early studies were at the Nova Scotia Teachers College, St. Francis Xavier, the University of New Brunswick and Notre Dame, where he took his Ph.D. He has also taught creative writing at the University of Indiana. Working alongside W.O. Mitchell, he was an inspiring teacher to generations of writers at the Banff Centre. In the spring of 2000, MacLeod retired from the University of Windsor, Ontario, where he was a professor of English.

He has published two internationally acclaimed collections of short stories: The Lost Salt Gift of Blood (1976) and As Birds Bring Forth the Sun (1986). In 2000, these two books, accompanied by two new stories, were published in a single-volume edition entitled Island: The Collected Stories of Alistair MacLeod. In 1999, MacLeod’s first novel, No Great Mischief, was published to great critical acclaim, and was on national bestseller lists for more than a year. The novel won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, The Trillium Award for Fiction, the CAA-MOSAID Technologies Inc. Award for Fiction, and at the Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Awards, MacLeod won for Fiction Book of the Year and Author of the Year. No Great Mischief was also a finalist for the Pearson Canada Reader’s Choice Award at The Word on the Street.

Alistair MacLeod and his wife, Anita, have six children. They live in Windsor.

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No Great Mischief 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Prose bordering on verse that illuminates and connects family history and land. A page turner virtually without 'plot', the cadences of the sentences and the evocation of place make you read on.
Guest More than 1 year ago
MacLeod exhibits enormous skill in describing the complicated concrescence of a family displaced in time and distance. Brilliant writing. It has the feeling of autumn built into its very fiber.
Guest More than 1 year ago
What most impresses me about this novel is how gently yet irrevocably it moves through the life and memory of the protagonist (one of many Alexander MacDonalds) and his family, both known and remembered. Starting in the time of the Highland Clearances of Scotland (which did not destroy the MacDonalds' sense of clan and kinship), it moves through their settlement on Cape Breton and slow accommodation to the modern world. The twentieth century, sadly, seems almost certain to accomplish what destitution and violence cannot: the destruction of the clan's sense of itself. Through lovely metaphors, frequent echoes of earlier events, and richly simple details, McLeod gives the reader a keen appreciation for what one character in the story describes as 'the difference between what is accurate and what is true.'
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Guest More than 1 year ago
i read this book for school and couldn't stand it the first time around but i perservered as it was the best out of a bad bunch to choose from and i have fallen for this well written family saga. Upon reading this novel for a second time i was able to fully appreciate MacLeod's words and ideas. A book all teenagers should read, it may make them appreciate what they have. I know thats what happened with me!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
It is a great novel at one level. At another level it has a bit of the history of North America embedded in it that I never knew, and I know quite a bit about the so-called 'French and Indian Wars.' It is absolutely fascinating. A great read. And many great quotes that my family uses in everyday conversation because they are so powerful. What a great writer! Wow!
Guest More than 1 year ago
MacLeod has a gift. This novel lives up to the expectations placed upon it, being the first novel of a master of the short story. The author masterfully brings to life the cultural heritage of Cape Breton, and in celebrating its passing will touch a chord in modern readers the world over. Forget Clancy-esque "fast food" expectations of a novel and appreciate not only the incredible skill but also obvious passion and emotion that has gone into this book. It reads as a string of memories and may seem somewhat muddled at first, but bear with it and take your time- it is leading somewhere!
Guest More than 1 year ago
I was whisked away to the ice off the black rocks of Cape Breton in between the pages of this fabulous book. I am amazed at the language and flow of the prose in each of the different themes in this novel. Having heard Alister read from his pages and having had an opportunity to visit the coast line of Cape Breton - I am a fan of his writing and the Cape forever. Any Canadian with brothers and sisters that has memories of childhood will be transported in time to their own past and the grown ups they watched from the kitchen floor. I highly recommend this to anyone who has been or wished they could go to the east coast - or to anyone who enjoys a fabulous trip into the trip from childhood to adulthood and the influence of family on the very core of our being. Catherine
Guest More than 1 year ago
This novel is very global it will jump to from part to part and you will not really understand it untill you have finished the whole book. In the beggining it is a little dry in excitment but don't put it down it gets better. by the end you won't want it to be done
Guest More than 1 year ago
This book was horrible! It was confusing, pointless and very graphic. I did not enjoy it at all. The beginning was a bit interesting but innapropriate but then he became a child, and then an adult, and then a teenager, then an adult and he changed so often that I didn't know what was going on. Don't buy it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Wow picked this book up by chance and read it in 3 nights, a moving and lyrical story that stirs your heart and beckons us all to look at our own past.