I need to tell you about two excellent books by Canadian authors that we read last year. No Great Mischief by Alistair MacLeod and The Long Stretch by Linden MacIntyre.
About No Great Mischief from ReadingGroupGuides.com:
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.
About The Long Stretch from the publisher's website:
From a gifted storyteller and one of Canada’s most respected journalists, The Long Stretch is a saga of love and war, the story of those who have "gone away" and those who are compelled to stay.
In one apocalyptic night, John Gillis and his estranged cousin Sextus confront a half century of half-truths and suppositions that have shaped and scarred their lives, their families and their insular Cape Breton community. Telling stories that unravel a host of secrets, they begin to realize that they were damaged before they were born, their fathers and a close friend forming an unholy trilogy in a tragic moment of war. Among the roots of a complex and painful relationship, they uncover the truth of a fateful day John has spent 20 years trying to forget.
Taut and brilliantly paced, etched with quiet humour and crafted with fiery dialogue, The Long Stretch is a mesmerizing novel in the tradition of Alistair MacLeod, David Adams Richards and Ann-Marie MacDonald.