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Zhenya BS? 'No Great Mischief'- One Great Book (22) RE: BS? 'No Great Mischief'- One Great Book 28 Oct 09


10/28/09 - Just saw this online, while looking for something else:


No Great Mischief the greatest
Alistair MacLeod's novel gets top spot in new book, Atlantic Canada's 100 Greatest Books

The Cape Breton Post
By Laura Jean Grant
Cape Breton Post

SYDNEY Ten years after it was first published, Alistair MacLeod's No Great Mischief has been recognized as the greatest Atlantic Canadian book of all time.
A newly released book, Atlantic Canada's 100 Greatest Books, by Trevor J. Adams and Stephen Patrick Clare, names MacLeod's novel as the consensus choice for the number one spot.
"I was very flattered and I was very pleased and surprised. It's very nice to be recognized by such a wide sample of readers and critics and so on," said MacLeod, who was born in Saskatchewan but spent much of his childhood in Cape Breton. He now divides his time between Windsor, Ont. and Dunvegan, Inverness County.
In the decade since its release, No Great Mischief has earned widespread praise and numerous awards, including the world's richest prize in fiction, the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award.
MacLeod is pleased the book has struck a chord with so many people but says it's difficult for him to pinpoint exactly why it resonates with readers.
"It's very hard for me to assess that, but I think obviously what I was trying to say has reached a lot of people and so I'm very pleased," he said. "Sometimes as a writer, you're kind of sending out messages in a bottle and so you're glad when the bottle washes up on shore and people read the contents."
Two of MacLeod's other books, The Lost Salt Gift of Blood, and Island: The Collected Stories are also in the top 15, while several other Cape Breton authors and books are represented in the top 100 including Ann-Marie MacDonald's Fall on Your Knees at number five, A Forest for Calum by Frank Macdonald at number 75, and D.R. MacDonald's Cape Breton Road at number 79.
Adams said he and Clare surveyed people in the publishing and literary industry as well as everyday readers to determining the top 100.
"When we started pulling our rankings together we sent out e-mails to dozens of people inviting them to submit their picks anyone from Canadian lit professors to other writers and we encouraged them to spread it along to anyone who was interested," he said. "Votes came in from all over the place and by the time it was all said and done we had 700-plus votes ... nominating a total of about 2,000 titles."
From there, they began ranking books on the number of votes each got, taking into consideration all the feedback, as well as their own editorial opinion.
But the books that topped the list were fairly obvious, said Adams.
"In the top 10, in particular, it's really pretty straight by the number of votes they got. Number one, No Great Mischief, was the clear number one. It wasn't even close. Anne of Green Gables was a close second, but No Great Mischief, it required no thought ranking it number one. It was the consensus pick really," he said. "It works on so many different levels. Just from a purely technical perspective, it's an extremely well-written book. Alistair MacLeod is just a craftsman with the English language. There's no wasted words, you'll never find a grammatical error or misusage. It's just really cleanly, smoothly written."
Adams said he and Clare hope their book becomes a starting point for more discussion on Atlantic Canadian literature.
"This is a topic that anyone who picks up the book is going to have their own opinions on and while we tried to really represent a diversity of opinions in here ... we're not naive enough to think that people are going to accept it as the word of God," he said. "We're expecting a lot of debate around it and that's great. We're big believers in Atlantic Canadian literature so anything that gets people thinking and talking about that, we're very excited about."
Atlantic Canada's 100 Greatest Books is now available in stores and will be officially launched early next month in Halifax.


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