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Light lifting - Alexander Macleod

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Light lifting - stories
Alexander Macleod
Jonathan Cape
UK Publication Date

Light Liftingis one of those rare debuts: a breathtakingly good collection of short fiction that heralds the arrival of a significant new talent: a suite of darkly urban, unflinching elegies. The seven stories each encompass a keenly observed, immersive world, and each carries the weight and impact of a novel. They are reminiscent of the work of Alice Munro at her best - rich and deep, merciless and utterly thrilling.

MacLeod's stories are shorn of sentimentality but drenched in an amorphous yearning, an omnipresent sense of loss and peril that seeps into even the happiest moments. 'Good Kids', about a family of four boys and their relationship with the boy who lived briefly in the rental house across the street, exemplifies a sense of sharp nostalgia: 'Our sticks were Koho and Sherwood shafts with plastic blades that had been wickedly curved over the front burner of the stove and we usually played with tennis balls that were too small and kept falling down through the grates of the sewer.' These reminiscences are balanced with keen insight into the casual, almost inevitable brutality that even 'good' kids are capable of.

Despite that underlying sense of sadness, the characters inLight Liftingaren't adrift. They're rooted firmly in the real world of work and family. These are elemental stories of work and its bonds, of tragedy and tragedy barely averted, but also of beauty and love and moments of pure transcendence.

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Alexander MacLeod was born in Inverness, Cape Breton and raised in Windsor, Ontario.Light Liftingwas shortlisted for the Giller Prize, the Commonwealth Prize, two Atlantic Book Awards, and went on to become a Canadian bestseller. MacLeod holds degrees from the universities of Windsor, Notre Dame and McGill, and currently lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia.

Alexander MacLeod's control of cadence and rhythm is so complete that it seems effortless. These stories offer a real pleasure which comes from the sense of life and emotional honesty in them. The pleasure also comes from their beautiful tone and something in the voice which is both relaxed and perfect. They contain a rare kind of truthfulness.
Colm Tibn

Outstanding...The final lines of MacLeod's stories tend to be ambiguous and sinister...Most strikingly, as we leave a man by the hospital cot of his desperately sick baby, the lights on the machine flash "Like a discotheque, maybe, or the reflection of ancient fire in a cave". Without a formal resolution, such stories are free to create ripples in the mind of the reader.
Independent - Suzi Feay

Brilliant debut collection,Light Lifting, is engrossing, thrilling and ultimately satisfying: each story has the weight of a novel... It is the beautiful writing that really carries this book. The choice of words is spare, simple and unaffected, and the rhythm is perfect: despite the sadness that overlays many pieces, they flow with the comforting lull of a bedtime story.
The Economist

Rarely does fiction inhabit the body - the moving, athletic body - as fully as in Alexander MacLeod's debut story collection... Sensitive and subtle, MacLeod is a writer through whose deliberately partial and quotidian pieces shimmers life's unspoken complexity.
Giller Prize Jury Citation

[MacLeod's] capacity to encapsulate entire lives in the span of a few pages rivals Alice Munro. This is one of the finest collections of short fiction to appear . . . in a long, long time.
Quill & Quire (Best Books of the Year citation)

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