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As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories

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The superbly crafted stories collected in Alistair MacLeod’s As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories depict men and women acting out their “own peculiar mortality” against the haunting landscape of Cape Breton Island. In a voice at once elegiac and life-affirming, MacLeod describes a vital present inhabited by the unquiet spirits of a Highland past, invoking memory The superbly crafted stories collected in Alistair MacLeod’s As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories depict men and women acting out their “own peculiar mortality” against the haunting landscape of Cape Breton Island. In a voice at once elegiac and life-affirming, MacLeod describes a vital present inhabited by the unquiet spirits of a Highland past, invoking memory and myth to celebrate the continuity of the generations even in the midst of unremitting change. His second collection, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories confirms MacLeod’s international reputation as a storyteller of rare talent and inspiration. From the Trade Paperback edition.


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The superbly crafted stories collected in Alistair MacLeod’s As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories depict men and women acting out their “own peculiar mortality” against the haunting landscape of Cape Breton Island. In a voice at once elegiac and life-affirming, MacLeod describes a vital present inhabited by the unquiet spirits of a Highland past, invoking memory The superbly crafted stories collected in Alistair MacLeod’s As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories depict men and women acting out their “own peculiar mortality” against the haunting landscape of Cape Breton Island. In a voice at once elegiac and life-affirming, MacLeod describes a vital present inhabited by the unquiet spirits of a Highland past, invoking memory and myth to celebrate the continuity of the generations even in the midst of unremitting change. His second collection, As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories confirms MacLeod’s international reputation as a storyteller of rare talent and inspiration. From the Trade Paperback edition.

30 review for As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories

  1. 5 out of 5

    Julie

    10/10 Review in progress ...

  2. 4 out of 5

    Michael

    Lesenotizen zu den einzelnen Stories THE CLOSING DOWN OF SUMMER Wie ein Schwarm Zugvögel sitzen sie da, am Strand von Nova Scotia, und warten auf das Zeichen zum Abflug in Richtung Afrika: eine Gruppe von Minenarbeitern, aus der Zeit gefallen wie antike Schauspieler oder Mastodons, von der Ausrottung bedroht. Sie führen ein archaisches Leben, die Gesundheit fortwährend bedroht von Stolleneinstürzen, Steinschlägen oder Flutungen, den Großteil des Jahres weit entfernt von den Familien, vor allem aber Lesenotizen zu den einzelnen Stories THE CLOSING DOWN OF SUMMER Wie ein Schwarm Zugvögel sitzen sie da, am Strand von Nova Scotia, und warten auf das Zeichen zum Abflug in Richtung Afrika: eine Gruppe von Minenarbeitern, aus der Zeit gefallen wie antike Schauspieler oder Mastodons, von der Ausrottung bedroht. Sie führen ein archaisches Leben, die Gesundheit fortwährend bedroht von Stolleneinstürzen, Steinschlägen oder Flutungen, den Großteil des Jahres weit entfernt von den Familien, vor allem aber entfremdet. So isoliert vom "normalen" Alltag, dass die Sprache kaum hinreicht, die persönlichen Erfahrungen auszutauschen und man ins Gälische zurückfällt, in die Sprache, die wenigstens innerhalb der Gruppe einen Zusammenhalt bietet, und fern der entfremdeten Hitparaden gälische Lieder singt: "Songs that are for the most part local and private and capable of losing almost all of their substance in translation". Der Story gelingt, woran der Erzähler kaum glauben mag: da wird etwas mitgeteilt, das sich dem Vorstellungsvermögen so sehr entzieht, dass es fraglich scheint, ob Worte die Kluft überbrücken können. Eine Wahnsinnserzählung, sprachlich unglaublich stark! WINTER DOG Der Erzähler wartet auf schlimme Nachrichten. Es ist Dezember und es schneit. Ein Nachbarshund, der mit den Kindern spielt, erinnert ihn an den Hund, der ihm als Kind das Leben gerettet hat. Doch davon hat er niemandem berichtet, und später wurde dieser Hund erschossen. Die Erzählung vibriert vor Kälte und Lebensbedrohung. Selten habe ich auf nur wenigen Seiten so intensiv über treibende Eisschollen gelesen. Selbst im Sommer möchte man die Heizung hochstellen.

  3. 4 out of 5

    nettebuecherkiste

    German review below This was an absolutely fantastic read, the writing is superb, at times breath-taking. The stories center around traditional life on Cape Breton Island, the force of nature and mortality. A huge thank-you to Amanda Center, on whose Booktube channel I discovered this little gem. Auf Cape Breton Island in der kanadischen Provinz Novia Scotia leben vorwiegend Nachfahren schottischer Auswanderer, die während der Highland Clearances aus dem schottischen Hochland vertrieben wurden. Die German review below This was an absolutely fantastic read, the writing is superb, at times breath-taking. The stories center around traditional life on Cape Breton Island, the force of nature and mortality. A huge thank-you to Amanda Center, on whose Booktube channel I discovered this little gem. Auf Cape Breton Island in der kanadischen Provinz Novia Scotia leben vorwiegend Nachfahren schottischer Auswanderer, die während der Highland Clearances aus dem schottischen Hochland vertrieben wurden. Dieses Erbe prägte die Kultur der Insel entscheidend, man sprach lange noch Gälisch, was sich heute vor allem noch in der reichen Musiktradition widerspiegelt. Der 2014 leider verstorbene Autor Alistair MacLeod, der auf Cape Breton Island aufwuchs, lässt die Traditionen und die Lebensweise der Insel in seinen Werken aufleben. Es kommt nicht häufig vor, dass ich gleich auf der allerersten Seite eines Buches zum Bleistift greife, um schöne Sätze zu unterstreichen. Dieses Buch ist so eines. Die Naturbeschreibungen von Alistair MacLeod kommen mit einer Wucht, einer unbändigen Kraft, die nahezu atemberaubend ist. Etwa die Beschreibung der Forellen in den fast ausgetrockneten Flüssen im Sommer: „They are very unlike the leaping, spirited trout of spring, battling and alive in the rushing, clear, cold water; so electrically filled with movement that it seems no parasite could ever lodge within their flesh.“ (Seite 7) Die kraftvolle Sprache ist jedoch keinesfalls auf Naturbeobachtungen beschränkt, sie tritt überall in Erscheinung, zieht sich durch das ganze Buch: „The music causes the hair to bristle on the backs of our necks and brings out the wildness of our grief and dredges the depths of our dense dark sorrow.“ (Seite 14) Ich kann mich nicht erinnern, wann ich zuletzt eine so eindrückliche Sprache genießen durfte. Thematisch beschäftigen sich die sieben Kurzgeschichten mit dem einfachen Leben auf der Insel, das durch Naturgewalten und den Kreislauf der Jahreszeiten geprägt ist, sowie den Traditionen, die weit in die Vergangenheit in Schottland zurückreichen. Die Geschichten sind dabei vor allem durch zwei zentrale Aspekte gekennzeichnet: Naturgewalten und Sterblichkeit bzw. Tod, letzterer auch im übertragenen Sinne bezogen auf das Aussterben der Traditionen, begleitet von einer wunderbaren Melancholie, die nie wehleidig wirkt, sondern nur bedauernd zur Kenntnis nimmt, dass die Zeiten sich ändern. In der sprachlich besonders eindrucksvollen ersten Geschichte, „The Closing Down of Summer“, geht es beispielsweise um die Männer, die in der traditionellen Bergbauindustrie der Insel arbeiten und jederzeit mit Tod oder zumindest Verletzungen rechnen müssen, ein Fakt, der die Mentalität der Familien prägt: „Yet we are not surprised or critical of each other, for she too is from a mining family and grew up largely on funds sent home by an absentee father. Perhaps we are but becoming our previous generation.“ (Seite 18) Doch auch diese Tradition stirbt aus, auch weil die Väter nicht anders können, als ihren Söhnen von einer solchen Karriere abzuraten: „And yet because it seems they will follow our advice instead of our lives, we will experience, in any future that is ours, only an increased sense of anguished isolation and an ironic feeling of confused bereavement.“ (Seite 23) Die Kurzgeschichten von Alistair MacLeod sind ein wunderschönes sprachliches Juwel, das ich euch wärmstens ans Herz legen möchte. Noch nie hat ein Werk dieses Genres mich so beeindruckt zurückgelassen.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Karolina Sosnowska

    https://tanayahczyta.wordpress.com/20... https://tanayahczyta.wordpress.com/20...

  5. 5 out of 5

    Amanda

    The first story was amazing, absolutely wonderful in its quietness and brutality and mortality. The next two were grand winter tales I will love rereading. The rest of the stories didn't leave as good of impressions, but they all captured the hardworking, pastoral, Canadian life. I will definitely be reading more by this author! The first story was amazing, absolutely wonderful in its quietness and brutality and mortality. The next two were grand winter tales I will love rereading. The rest of the stories didn't leave as good of impressions, but they all captured the hardworking, pastoral, Canadian life. I will definitely be reading more by this author!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Smcalli1

    In my mind, Alistair MacLeod is one of today's best writers. He doesn't try to grab you with flashy techniques or weird storyline twists or profound social comment. Rather, he's a storyteller, pure and simple. This is a collection of some of his rare short stories that chronicle the lives of people in his native Nova Scotia. They are beautifully crafted and moving in their simplicity. If you enjoy a quiet, yet moving story, well told, I recommend anything written by Alistair MacLeod. In my mind, Alistair MacLeod is one of today's best writers. He doesn't try to grab you with flashy techniques or weird storyline twists or profound social comment. Rather, he's a storyteller, pure and simple. This is a collection of some of his rare short stories that chronicle the lives of people in his native Nova Scotia. They are beautifully crafted and moving in their simplicity. If you enjoy a quiet, yet moving story, well told, I recommend anything written by Alistair MacLeod.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Tracey

    This is one on my favourite Canadian authors. His stories are timeless and reach into the heart of a person being told from the heart of the story teller. My favourite stories: The Closing Down of Summer is an amazing story of miners that probably spoke most to me as my father was a miner. 5 star no question. To every thing there is a season: evocative of Dylan Thomas and A Child's Christmas in Wales. Indeed Macleod is in my mind the Canadian equivalent of Thomas. The tuning of perfection; wonderf This is one on my favourite Canadian authors. His stories are timeless and reach into the heart of a person being told from the heart of the story teller. My favourite stories: The Closing Down of Summer is an amazing story of miners that probably spoke most to me as my father was a miner. 5 star no question. To every thing there is a season: evocative of Dylan Thomas and A Child's Christmas in Wales. Indeed Macleod is in my mind the Canadian equivalent of Thomas. The tuning of perfection; wonderful, lyrical, powerful. Al the stories speak of a time of past and present blended.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    2.5 stars. The writing was often poetic, and I appreciated the 'oral storytelling' style and the desire to record a culture and disappearing way of life. And yet somehow the stories didn't quite connect with me; I'm not sure why. Maybe I just didn't feel I really entered into the experience and inner life of the characters. But that's a purely personal evaluation, and I would still recommend the stories to others who might feel differently. 2.5 stars. The writing was often poetic, and I appreciated the 'oral storytelling' style and the desire to record a culture and disappearing way of life. And yet somehow the stories didn't quite connect with me; I'm not sure why. Maybe I just didn't feel I really entered into the experience and inner life of the characters. But that's a purely personal evaluation, and I would still recommend the stories to others who might feel differently.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Brett

    Alistair Macleod was a complete and undeniable genius. His two books of short stories are among the best things I have ever read. I cannot single out any one story because they are all masterpieces in miniature. I highly recommend this collection.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Peter B

    Collection of short stories many of which are about mining and Cape Breton and have the same powerful creation of character and place as No Great Mischief. The imminence of death seems to prevail everywhere and family connections are paramount. I prefer MacLeod as a short story writer as things are tight and controlled whereas his novel seems to be wandering on occasions.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Bill S.

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Last week I had never even heard of this collection. Now, it is one of my favorites of all time, but not for the reasons that I usually look for in a short story collection. "The Closing Down of Summer" - Exemplifies MacLeod and my surprising fascination with him. I should not like this story. It is a description of a man's thoughts, snippets of his life and his surroundings as he prepares himself to journey to South Africa on yet another mining operation. You get a feel for the life of the Cape Last week I had never even heard of this collection. Now, it is one of my favorites of all time, but not for the reasons that I usually look for in a short story collection. "The Closing Down of Summer" - Exemplifies MacLeod and my surprising fascination with him. I should not like this story. It is a description of a man's thoughts, snippets of his life and his surroundings as he prepares himself to journey to South Africa on yet another mining operation. You get a feel for the life of the Cape Breton miners who left for all corners of the world once their coal mines faltered. It ends with a sense of foreboding that the man will not survive this trip. Nothing really happens. There is no ironic ending or wild story concept which I usually crave. However, I was captivated the whole time by the descriptive and lyrical power of the presentation. MacLeod surpasses Willa Cather as the master of modern English prose. THIS GUY COULD WRITE A SENTENCE! Every sentence is a thing of beauty. "To Everything There is a Season"- A nine page masterpiece about a child being welcomed into the world of adults. He is invited to stay up on Christmas Eve to see that the packages his brother has been sending home from his job on the Great Lakes are in fact the Christmas Gifts. Yes, there is no Santa Clause. "Every man moves on, but there is no need to grieve. He leaves good things behind," his father says. Simple story told before, but just read the first paragraph and you'll think you would give up everything you own to write this well. "Second Spring" - subtle and well crafted. He gives a detailed overview of life on a farm over the course of a year. The central theme is that there is so much that one cannot control, including the cow the young boy breeds ends up being impregnated by the wrong bull. Soon after he discovers baseball. The attraction? Fielding the ball - "In my small area of the earth it seemed that everything was under my control." His "Second Spring" was finding an activity so unlike farm life. "Winter Dog" - A memory of a dog who saved the protagonist's life while they were off on the sea ice. Energetic story with a sad twist. When he returns home he does not want to be embarrassed or get in trouble so the boy says nothing about the dog's heroics. Thus, the father has little difficulty arranging the dog's death when he becomes a problem on the farm. After all, he had never been useful in his eyes to begin with. "As the Birds Bring Forth the Sun" - Should we believe in a family curse in which a pack of dogs or some representation of them bring death? "we are aware that some beliefs are what others would dismiss as garbage. We are aware that there are men who believe the earth is flat and that the birds bring forth the sun." However, judging from the stories of the past, "You cannot not know what you do know." And so, the sons wait at their father's deathbed "Open still and fearful to the grey hair rising on our necks if and when we hear the scrabble of the paws and the scratching at the door." Now that's a great sentence to finish a story on. "Vision" - Another story of a curse. A man who has visions of the future must give up his lover according to the local priest to make them stop. When he does she curses him. She goes blind in an accident and her daughter is raised by he and her sister. The children of this daughter come to visit many years after, but do not realize that the blind woman who repulses them is in fact their grandmother. One of the sons will lose his sight in world war II hearing and feeling the blind woman at that moment. Much latter a bar room brawl results in the blindness of yet another character. There are many many stories here, but the point comes at the end when a girls asks the riddle - who has eyes but cannot see. Turns out it is much more than potatoes. Yet another great story telling job. When you read the start of the story you don't realize that the man is blind. There are clues, but they are not apparent until his condition is revealed afterwards.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Daniel Kukwa

    It's a gentle (dare I say typically cliched Canadian) short story collection, that builds to its peak with the fabulous story "The Tuning of Perfection". But then it's followed by two stories that did absolutely nothing for me, and didn't touch me in any way. The end result is your typical mixed back of a collection, but it's at least tied together by a beautiful & delicate writing style. It's a gentle (dare I say typically cliched Canadian) short story collection, that builds to its peak with the fabulous story "The Tuning of Perfection". But then it's followed by two stories that did absolutely nothing for me, and didn't touch me in any way. The end result is your typical mixed back of a collection, but it's at least tied together by a beautiful & delicate writing style.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Jack Luminous

    Opowiadania. Jedne lepsze, inne gorsze, ale wszystkie bardzo dobre. Literatura przez duże L.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Andrew

    An absolutely beautiful collection of stories; often tragic, at times haunting, and all set against the incredible backdrop of MacLeod’s native Nova Scotia. A true master of the Canadian short story!

  15. 4 out of 5

    Między sklejonymi kartkami

    "Ludzie w Nowej Szkocji przez wieki żyli zgodnie z nieubłaganym rytmem surowej przyrody, w głębokiej więzi z nią oraz sobą nawzajem, co doprowadziło ich do wypracowania specyficznego stoickiego światopoglądu, który MacLeodowi doskonale udaje się przekazać na przestrzeni tych kilku opowiadań". Całość na: https://miedzysklejonymikartkami.blog... "Ludzie w Nowej Szkocji przez wieki żyli zgodnie z nieubłaganym rytmem surowej przyrody, w głębokiej więzi z nią oraz sobą nawzajem, co doprowadziło ich do wypracowania specyficznego stoickiego światopoglądu, który MacLeodowi doskonale udaje się przekazać na przestrzeni tych kilku opowiadań". Całość na: https://miedzysklejonymikartkami.blog...

  16. 5 out of 5

    Josh Sieders

    I thoroughly enjoyed this. I've always wished this author wrote more. MacLeod tells stories about a people, their heritage, way of life and the land that is a part of them with love and always a tinge of melancholy. And somehow it makes me long to know these people more, to visit Cape Breton and to feel a kinship with them. The language is simple and eloquent at the same time, with no wasted words and the descriptions – which I can find onerous in novels – drop you right into the heart of the st I thoroughly enjoyed this. I've always wished this author wrote more. MacLeod tells stories about a people, their heritage, way of life and the land that is a part of them with love and always a tinge of melancholy. And somehow it makes me long to know these people more, to visit Cape Breton and to feel a kinship with them. The language is simple and eloquent at the same time, with no wasted words and the descriptions – which I can find onerous in novels – drop you right into the heart of the story's time and place. I've read a few collections of short stories by him and some other quality authors this year and I've come to love this format more than ever before. I highly recommend any and everything this author has written.

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jim

    A delightful collection of crisp charged stories about Canadian Scots living in the beautiful, rough farming/fishing/logging/mining (heck, just about any type of work that demanded hard labor and danger) of the Cape Breton area of Nova Scotia. Well written, almost memoirish, with a fondness that infuses the stories, seemingly holding up the mostly male characters as admirable, honest, hard working, hard suffering, proud people. Description of life and land are wonderful. The stories sometime mea A delightful collection of crisp charged stories about Canadian Scots living in the beautiful, rough farming/fishing/logging/mining (heck, just about any type of work that demanded hard labor and danger) of the Cape Breton area of Nova Scotia. Well written, almost memoirish, with a fondness that infuses the stories, seemingly holding up the mostly male characters as admirable, honest, hard working, hard suffering, proud people. Description of life and land are wonderful. The stories sometime meander, and almost always have animals involved. I liked best the very first story about a Canadian miner getting ready to return to his duties with his crew to South Africa, as he contemplates the costs, as well as the art, of the life he has chosen deep in the mineshafts. MacLeod passed away this year, a strong and beautiful voice lost; although he is not as famous as some of the recently departed of this year (Angelou, Garcia Marquez, Gordimer), he is every bit worth picking up and trying. I recommend him.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Tara

    Loved this book of short stories, although I'm not usually a big short story person. The characters came immediately to life and the pictures of life on the east coast were vivid. The stories are very real life, often leading from one story and ending in another, and often involving very difficult lives, both for the people and for the animals that appear frequently. But even though their lives were tough and sometimes filled with tragedy, I didn't find the book to be depressing. Definitely wort Loved this book of short stories, although I'm not usually a big short story person. The characters came immediately to life and the pictures of life on the east coast were vivid. The stories are very real life, often leading from one story and ending in another, and often involving very difficult lives, both for the people and for the animals that appear frequently. But even though their lives were tough and sometimes filled with tragedy, I didn't find the book to be depressing. Definitely worth a read.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mrsgaskell

    I generally much prefer novels to short stories but these were beautifully written, and somewhat haunting. Set against the landscape of Cape Breton the characters’ memories of life, change, loss, and the passing of generations are deeply poignant. My book rating: 9 stars

  20. 4 out of 5

    Gerry Brooks

    What Jane Urquhart said.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Magnus Flyte

    Stunningly beautiful writing. Do yourself a favor and read this book. Slowly, while no one is bothering you. Savor every word. It's not very long, but it's very, very good. Stunningly beautiful writing. Do yourself a favor and read this book. Slowly, while no one is bothering you. Savor every word. It's not very long, but it's very, very good.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Marc

    Like Rocket Robin Hood if it was done by Disney - B-level insight wrapped in the finest Canadiana

  23. 4 out of 5

    Randy

  24. 5 out of 5

    Norman Visser

  25. 4 out of 5

    Annelize

  26. 5 out of 5

    Kyle Mccarthy

  27. 4 out of 5

    Juliana

  28. 4 out of 5

    Jonathan Danyliw

  29. 4 out of 5

    Weronika

  30. 4 out of 5

    Abcdarian

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