Well, the company I work for rewards its employees with a day off, for their birthday. It doesn’t have to be taken on the actual day though. Mine was Monday! But I chose today, Friday, as my Birthday Day off.
So, I began December 8th with some near-comatose hibernation.
Then I awoke and made a nice breakfast, and lounged around a bit.
Then I drove down to the post office where a parcel awaited me. It contained yet another Alain de Botton book. Plus, another package was there, containing a book that Random House sent to me, for free. They do this all the time [on a regular basis] and I am very grateful to them for doing so.
Then I needed a coffee, so I came here to Chapters/Starbucks where I have been lazily reading this great book by Canadian writer, Alistair MacLeod. Good old Saskatchewan boy, just like me! Granted, he was raised in Cape Breton, but BORN in Saskatchewan. And it’s where you are born that really counts, no?
Anyway, the book is called No Great Mischief, first published in 1999. It won the very prestigious and coveted International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and I say “coveted” because the prize includes something like $100,000 if I am not mistaken.
For a guy like me, such a prize would be very coveted, indeed. My own personal financial constraints are currently so severe that I am forced to wear a wristwatch that hasn’t worked in years! [I refuse to throw it away because, after all, it still shows the correct time, twice a day!]
My preliminary report on the book, now that I am 100 pages in, is that it is magnificently written. Memoirish in style, yet beautiful fiction.
From the back cover:
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 descendants 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, and of the blood ties that bind us to the land from which our ancestors came.
I agree. It is “spellbinding.”
A great way to spend a day off.
What time is it, anyway?
Whoa! I’ve either been here for twelve hours or….. oh! Yeah, I forgot!
This thing ain’t ticking!