6 November 2013

No Great Mischief

Reviewer: Kelsey
Author: Alistair MacLeod
Format: Paperback
Pages: 296
Rating: 6 out of 10

Summary (Using Goodreads): 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.

My Thoughts Here: I thought this book was, at times, very hard to follow. It is sometimes a story told within a story. It consists of flashbacks with a reflection on how it affects the present day. I had to really pay attention to make sure that I didn't think the past was the present or vise versa. Some parts of the novel seemed to drag on while others went by in a flash. Focus was necessary for sure. 

The novel was full of great visuals. In fact, the novel starts in a place I am familiar with and I was instantly transported there. I could see what he saw. I love that it takes place in Canada, not many novel do. I love that it started near my home even more. 

There was a problem with names though. Calum is the brother but also the name of the great-great-grandfather or something like that. Plus, there are three Alexanders. There isn't just two, there are three. I understand that it was supposed to build some connection between them and to point to the family relations (we studied this novel in my Canadian Literature class...luckily, I almost failed the essay and feel it's now necessary for you to suffer with me...). Family is a huge part of this novel, I understand but maybe it could have been easier to figure out without all the similar names.

In some parts of this novel, I found it awkwardly inappropriate. Inappropriate is one thing but the phrasing of it and the words chosen made it super awkward to read. I was uncomfortable at parts. I mean nothing is super detailed or horrible or anything, just awkward.

Also, ew on the ripping out of teeth but I love that he became an orthodontist because of it. 

In Conclusion: I was lucky enough to meet the writer who used to teach at my university and came in to talk about this novel. He was pretty entertaining as a person and kind of funny. I even got my copy signed, be jealous. Also, like I said above, I love that this took place in Canada. I think it is similar is ways to perks of being a wallflower (a stretch) and to Looking for Alaska (still a stretch). I'm not sure who to recommend this novel too. Maybe you'll want to look into it though. Then again, had I not been forced to read it for class, I probably would not have read it at all. I'll leave it up to you.


My Rating: 6 out of 10

So, yeah. Had to read this for class. It was okay, I didn't give up on it so you know, that's a good thing! 

I really liked that I could picture everything because finally, a book from home about home! 

- Kristen 

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