No Great Mischief

Publisher: Emblem Editions
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.

READING GUIDE

1. Why might the author have chosen the narrator Alexander to be an orthodontist by profession? Is his choice of profession connected in some way to Calum's infected tooth episode during their boyhood [p79]? What is Alexander's attitude towards his own profession? Is he proud or ashamed? He writes that he hopes to make...

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PRAISE FOR

“MacLeod is MacLeod, the greatest living Canadian writer and one of the most distinguished writers in the world. No Great Mischief is the book of the year – and of this decade. It is a once-in-a-lifetime masterpiece.”
Globe and Mail

No Great Mischief is one of the best Canadian novels I’ve read in years. It’s a tale of truth about people who care for one another and for the living world around them. A lament and a celebration, it will endure.”
–Farley Mowat

“This is a simply great novel. The simplicity lies in the device of the plot. The greatness lies in its scope, imagination, and execution.…His message beguiles, his prose captivates, and his narrative never loosens a deceptively gentle grip.”
–Glasgow Herald

“You will find scenes from this majestic novel burned into your mind forever.”
–Alice Munro

“A triumph of fiction.…[MacLeod’s] storytelling is taut and lucid. His characters possess strength and depth. They linger in your mind.”
The Economist (U.K.)

“[A] mesmerizing, evocative story, infused with grace and wisdom.”
–Jury Citation, Trillium Award

“A powerful, intricate work.…”
Toronto Sun

“MacLeod’s world of Cape Breton…has become a permanent part of my own inner library.”
New York Times Book Review

No Great Mischief feels like a book that’s gone deep and means to stay.”
Quill & Quire (starred review)

“A masterpiece of storytelling.”
Time Out (London)

“This book is a jewel.…Destined to become one of the most memorable Canadian novels of the decade.…”
Hamilton Spectator

“A haunting and beautiful book.…MacLeod’s descriptions are remarkable.”
–Montreal Gazette

No Great Mischief is a lesson in the art of storytelling.”
Times Literary Supplement

“The work speaks of great loves…and tragic losses that will move readers in every corner of the world.”
Publishers Weekly

“A robust novel, celebrating all of the joys and tragedies life has to offer.”
Edmonton Journal

“MacLeod’s world, hard and real, has also the feel of resonant myth about it, enduring truths couched in pellucid prose.”
The Scotsman

“A great, hauntingly beautiful and enduring book.”
Kitchener-Waterloo Record

“Few readers will fail to be moved by No Great Mischief.”
Toronto Star

“[MacLeod’s] writing is of a quality that most writers can only dream of achieving.”
National Post

“The book is pervaded by humour and colour, intensely vivid, and very, very moving.”
The Independent (U.K.)