No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod

No Great Mischief

byAlistair MacLeod

Kobo ebook | January 11, 2012

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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.

Title:No Great MischiefFormat:Kobo ebookPublished:January 11, 2012Publisher:McClelland & StewartLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1551995476

ISBN - 13:9781551995472

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Reviews

Rated 4 out of 5 by from Read many years ago - still with me. A great book. still quiet and unassuming, but captivating all the same.
Date published: 2017-10-26
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Definitely Hits Close to Home Extremely pleased with the quality of this book. Coming from a old fishing/farming town in Cape Breton, this descriptors in the pages created very vivid images for me as I pictured the setting as if it was at home. Each character description reminded me of a local, and the overall way of the land hasn't changed a whole lot other than transportation and accessibility. Lovely read for someone missing a Cape Breton lifestyle!
Date published: 2017-09-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful Story A wonderful read. A true understanding of "home" and the emotions involved with leaving...and returning.
Date published: 2017-04-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from I really liked this book Easy read, but lots to think about
Date published: 2017-01-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Amazing!! Wonderful writing, wonderful story.
Date published: 2017-01-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my all time top ten I wish Alistair MacLeod had lived to write more books. Every word is poetry and sings Cape Breton. It recounts the history of a family from the Scottish expulsions to the present dealing with escape from the poverty of the island to the habitual return of its inhabitants who are drawn by the music, the Gaelic language and lure of family. MacLeod spent the summers for years In a small shack overlooking the sea writing this book. Voted Atlantic Canada's best book of all time is a must read for anyone interested in Canadian literary fiction.
Date published: 2016-12-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No Great Mischief Excellent read, the details of life for immigrants to Canada from the 1600's until the present day, and the family continuity with "home" are written about with feeling.
Date published: 2015-07-16
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No Great Mischief Beautiful, beautiful writing. Every word, crafted with concise detail and poignant description. R.I.P. Dr. Mac.
Date published: 2014-10-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No great mischief Wonderful interesting story.
Date published: 2014-09-12
Rated 5 out of 5 by from No Great Mischief One of the world's most wonderful books. A deep and moving look at the life of a family with long roots and traditions, sad and wondrous experiences together and how they cared for and looked after each other through many changes. As Gramma said 'we are all better when we're loved'. Amen to that.
Date published: 2014-05-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Saw the play and had to read the book to figure out the plot. Love MacLeod's writhing.
Date published: 2013-11-12
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Deja vu or are they destined to repeat prior lives of their ancestors? You meet Alexander as he visits his older, alcoholic brother, Calum. Whereby he gives you glimpses into his current life, as well as, tells his story from where it began hundreds of years earlier to help you understand his family or clan, and how they relate to each other. His story tells of heartache, loss, love, warmth, survival, and belonging to the Donald clan is more than just skin deep. Enjoyed.
Date published: 2013-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Beautiful, potent and elegaic This book is extremely powerful, for a book that is ultimately quiet and composed primarily of remembrances of things past. The book evokes the feeling of being connected to an ancestry stretching back at least as far as the Battle of Culloden in 1745, if not further, and how the ethnic divisions of those days still echo among the descendants of the combatants to this day. True, the book is about the Scottish people who settled in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia and their trials, but it speaks of something more than that: of the power of memory and ancestral connections that might be true of any culture that finds itself cast up in the modern eclectic world of mixed cultures and races. The final line says it all: All of us are better when we're loved.
Date published: 2009-03-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from 10/10 for this historical novel I read this with a book club and enjoyed it very much. The male members of the book club found it more to their liking than some of the novels featuring a lot of female characters. The author and content are Canadian and the writing is superb.
Date published: 2008-09-27
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Superb storytelling Through 9/10ths of the book, the story's plot takes place over the span of an afternoon. Alexander MacDonald is visiting his eldest brother, Calum, who lives in a one room apartment in the heart of Toronto, and who is dependent on alcohol just to function. During this visit, Alexander relates to the reader stories of the immediate past and involving his immediate family. Interwoven in this narrative are the stories of his immediate ancestors as well as the the stories of Clan Donald. This novel is about identity, and how identity is rooted in places and memory, and suggests that this is universally true. It then asks the question, if ones' ties to place and memory are broken, what becomes of who we are? Peripherally, the book touches on the idea of fate as well. The storytelling is superb. With simple strokes, MacLeod is nevertheless able to give life to these characters whom you will grow attached to. As places play an important role in the novel, MacLeod also works wonderfully with the settings, such as a small region within Cape Breton, or the Queen St. W. district of Toronto, or a mine in northern Ontario. These settings through MacLeod's pen become non-human characters themselves. He's an exemplar of the writer's addage: show, don't tell. At the same time, this storytelling style admits a few weaknesses in this instance. Firstly, it is difficult to find direct references to the narrator's personality and motivations, and thus it is hard to sympathize with Alexander MacDonald. At the same time, however, this may be an intended effect, since the narrator himself is an integral part of this exploration of identity. Perhaps the distance and detachment we feel, is part of MacLeod's thesis of the erosion of his identity. Secondly, there are some scenes of conversations between the narrator and his twin sister, which serves as a device for exposition on Clan Donald history and legend, as well as hinting at the sister's own struggle with identity. While I can't think of a better way to do it, it was nonetheless, a weakness in the novel. The exposition felt dry, and tired. But again, perhaps this was intended. Overall, another great book by a Canadian author.
Date published: 2007-09-09
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Truly Canadian I enjoyed this book very much. Macleod comes across like a storyteller of old. I can see him as a grandfather talking to a hushed family gathering, describing their history and lore to keep it alive both for future generations and for him. There are two readily apparent themes in this book one of which is associated with the title. I suspect another intended or not refers to the current state of fiscal disparity between Cape Breton and much of the rest of Canada. The characters that are well developed are for the most part male. They are very realistic, memorable and believable. All in all it was a very good read!
Date published: 2006-06-03
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Fantastic No Great Mischief is storytelling at its best by a true master.
Date published: 2006-01-17
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great.....Mischief What a wonderful story. I was moved to tears as I read the final words. MacLeod tells a story so well and he has created images that stay with me. I love this book and have gone on to recommend it to everyone that I feel is intelligent and soulfull enough to appreciate such a brilliant read. Read this then read Island Cheers!
Date published: 2005-12-27
Rated 1 out of 5 by from Wow, I wasted my time! This book is one for the fire. Good thing the writer only has one book like this. I felt that he didn't put enough emotion into the book. I'm very emo, and therefor emotional is my thing. I also felt that the way that the author jumped back and forth in the plot line was really confusing, and it never kept my interest. I could see somebody with a little less intelligence enjoying this novel, but somebody as sophisticated as me, that option is impossible.
Date published: 2005-10-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from A Great Read I thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommended it to my family & friends. In fact, this book is one of the few books that touched my soul, perhaps because I am from the East Coast and there is an element of spirituality throughout the book. People from the East Coast have a sense of 'oneness' with the land and I think that makes us different from other regions of the world. The book might have been a little sappy in places to more insensitive people - but I loved it and actually bought it twice when my pal lost the book - I had to have it in my collection and I would most definitely place this book on my top 10 of all time!
Date published: 2005-03-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from No Great Mischief is 'No Great deal' Let's not circle around this topic. The point is clear: this is an absolutely boring recollection of one man's past. True, this is a well written memoir. However, what MacLeod fails to see is that not everyone is interested in his life. Okay, so maybe I am too harsh on him. I will give him full credit for the time and effort he took to write and publish this somewhat epic. Nevertheless, I wasted my time in reading it. The Gaelic took the cake. Most of the time I didn't know what he was talking about. Truly I tell you, this book can be passed off as my old History of the Higland Era. It's got the aura, but no necessity. A piece of interpretive literature, I will give it two points out of five for the meaning it has behind it. This review is from the point of view of a non-Scot. I thus don't feel compelled to Scottish history of any sort.
Date published: 2004-12-31
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Canadiana I found this to be a quick and enjoyable read. MacLeod paints a beautiful, if somewhat heartbreaking, picture of Cape Bretton. Definitely someplace I'd like to visit after reading this novel. Set in Essex County, with visits to Toronto and flashbacks to Sudbury and Cape Bretton, it doesn't get any more Canadian. I would recommend this book as a nice rendition of our country's history and as a worthwhile read.
Date published: 2003-07-16
Rated 2 out of 5 by from No Great Book After reading many excellent reviews of this book, I was sorely disappointed when I finally had the opportunity to read it. Hoping for a soaring saga about the Scottish Highlanders who immigrated to Cape Breton, I was instead presented with endlessly repeated events that were not worthy of the time and space devoted to them. How much do we want to know about that single summer at the Renco mine? Not the level of detail MacLeod deemed necessary to include, I assure you. The characters are one-dimensional and not at all sympathetic. The endless use of quotes to highlight certain words, sometimes several in a single sentence, quickly becomes very annoying. Apart from a few poignant descriptions - usually of landscape - I found absolutely nothing memorable or exceptional about No Great Mischief. With the wonderful bounty of Canadian novels now available, don't waste your time on this one.
Date published: 2003-05-28
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Excellent A joy to read. The author captures the true spirit of Cape Breton and its people.
Date published: 2001-09-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Thoroughly satisfying! Alistair Macleod's masterful tale of a Cape Breton family over time is thoroughly engaging and satisfying, ultimately ending with a valuable insight into human relationships.
Date published: 2001-08-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great Book Club Read We just completed our Book Club meeting tonight and I thought this was a great time to submit our review. There is 5 members in our club and we all enjoyed No Great Mischief a lot. Additionally, someone brought a video tape of Alistair MacLeod being interviewed on CBC. We felt this book was really nice to read and all of us could relate some of the story to our own ancestry. Alistair MacLeod has a really great way of depicting this story, with some really heart breaking family events, in a way that is so natural you do not feel the pain. This is life and death in these difficult times. We had some very interesting conversation around this book and do suggest it as a great book club type reading. I would suggest it is a great read without the book club.
Date published: 2001-05-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from no great mischief This story was sheer poetry...Macleod is the consumate writer and story teller. The MacDonald clan (Calum Ruadh) is probably a typical family, warts and all, but what makes them special is the bond they have with each other. "...blood is thicker than water...all of us are better when we're loved...". I could not put this book down for long. I was totally absorbed when I began each page because it spoke to my Scottish and Cape Breton heritage.
Date published: 2001-05-19
Rated 5 out of 5 by from One of my favouite all-time reads! Although I read this book when it was first published, the images it created linger with me. Now that this brilliant book has won such a prestigious award, I feel proud, as if I had some small ownership of it: I have been telling everyone that this is one of the best books EVER! The characters -- human and canine -- become as familiar as family members, and are equally as complex! Highly recommended!
Date published: 2001-05-16