Sunday, April 8, 2012

Reading Journal: No Great Mischief, by Alistair MacLeod (1999)

Mystical and beautiful work that loops eternally back on itself, telling the history of a Scottish-descended Cape Breton family, exorcising demon after demon that comes with their rise in the world. (And they have risen: the narrator has made a Toronto dentist of himself.) MacLeod almost has too many balls in the air, deliberately using characters with the same name and one "Grandpa" and one "Grandfather," to the point where keeping track of where in space or time you are can be a challenge. But in the best sense, this novel - to me - was about its general impression, and there's such a current of loss running through it, and such a strong resistance to pure nostalgia, that this exploration proves well worthwhile. Definitely a novel I'll get more from on the second time through, but not so difficult that it absolutely requires rereading. A slow read that's justly become a CanLit staple, and will remain so for a very long time. Rich, rich work.

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