Refuse to be Passive

No Great Mischief

In Art, Life in General on December 12, 2009 at 12:33 pm

As happens so often, I started a book that was promising, and about halfway through it seems like the author ran out of steam and couldn’t quite pull it together to create a good apex and ending. So sad. In an effort to rememdy my sense of disappointment, I’ve picked up another novel I’ve been intending to read for a long while now, and am only just getting around to. It’s Alistair MacLeod’s No Great Mischief. I’m only three chapters in, but thus far am thoroughly pleased. I spend four years living in Southern Ontario, where the novel is set. The narrative opens in September, the most brillaint month (except for maybe October) in the Ontario year, with the heat waves finally breaking and the leaves changing hues. That time of year has some of my best memories attached to it. But beyond that, it’s a story of life and family. I love these stories because it takes talent to write in such a way that is book is engaging, but not boring. It’s not a comedy, it’s a drama. It’s much easier to hook people with humour. And it’s not chic lit, or some other mostly (although I will admit not wholly) subpar genre that seems to attract aspiring authors in droves, and most of them seem to be bad. It’s an intense book on family history, and not a light read. But the writing is brilliant and beautiful. The sentences flow, crafted so that each word is though through before being put on the page.

This novel was long anticipated before it was ever published. Alistair MacLeod was best known for his short stories, but proves himself more than able at novel writing. In fact, I would wager this is my favourite piece by him (please remember I’m only three chapters in). Anyway, a good book, and worth taking some time to sit down and read, especially if you love Canada, history, and family. It’ll be worth your while.

  1. Read ‘the sweetness at the bottom of the pie’ – you’ll love it!

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