Light Lifting by Alexander MacLeod
The place was like a Bermuda Triangle for hopeful people.
It’s time to start the 2010 Giller Prize shortlist, and this is the first one that came available at the library. Now I know why this guy’s name is so familiar to me as an author – he’s the son of Alistair MacLeod, who also writes short stories. The blurb on the back says this collection of short stories is long-awaited, but at the same time it’s his debut work.
Whoever has been presciently waiting for this book has been rewarded with good, tight, clean writing. Every i has been dotted, every t has been crossed, every ordinary person has had an extraordinary thing happen to them, every ordinary life has been looked at in an extraordinary way. The pacing is perfect, the language is poetic, the unexpected endings are flawlessly executed … but it’s all so smooth that there is nothing to really grab you on the way by.
Alexander MacLeod’s long-awaited first collection of short fiction offers us a suite of darkly urban and unflinching elegies. These are elemental stories of work and its bonds, of tragedy and tragedy barely averted, but also of beauty, love and fragile understanding.