Author(s): Alistair MacLeod
Alistair MacLeod musters all of the skill and grace that have won him an international following to give us No Great Mischief, the story of a fiercely loyal family and the tradition that drives it. Generations after their forebears went into exile, the MacDonalds still face seemingly unmitigated hardships and cruelties of life. Alexander, orphaned as a child by a horrific tragedy, has nevertheless gained some success in the world. Even his older brother, Calum, a nearly destitute alcoholic living on Toronto's skid row, has been scarred by another tragedy. But, like all his clansman, Alexander is sustained by a family history that seems to run through his veins. And through these lovingly recounted stories-wildly comic or heartbreakingly tragic-we discover the hope against hope upon which every family must sometimes rely.
His writing, graceful and elegiac, has the resonance of Steinbeck, and the violence is as raw and unchecked. But his pictures of the men, the land and their fate are more fragile, like old photographs pulled from a wallet. Endlessly creased, they will fall apart unless you unfold them with great care and patience which MacLeod does beautifully. "