Cape Breton Road

Cape Breton Road

Book - 2000
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From the prize-winning short-story writer, a rich, masterfully crafted novel, set against the beautiful but harsh Nova Scotia landscape. Innis Corbett was born in Cape Breton, Nova Scotia, into a Highlander community whose inhabitants are held by ties of memory and blood. But as a small child he moves to Boston with his father and mother. Tragedy strikes when his father is killed by a car and Innis is left in the sole care of his mother who has a weakness for men and sometimes for drink. When Innis gets in trouble with the law over a series of car thefts (he has a liking for fancy cars and pot), he is deported to Canada, a punishment, to him, worse than going to prison. Innis goes to live with his bachelor uncle, Starr, in rural Cape Breton, in the rugged landscape that had shaped three generations of his family. Inspired and challenged by this environment, he takes refuge in the wild, dense woods, where he devises a plan to grow pot. His new venture helps assuage his loneliness and gives him something to care for, a secret of his own. Then Claire, an attractive woman nearing 40 enters the Corbett household. So begins an entanglement that leads to suspicion, jealousy, and ultimately to violence. Cape Breton Roadis an exceptional first novel by a writer with an unerring eye for tragedy that seems to grow from the soil.
Publisher: [Toronto] : Doubleday Canada, c2000.
ISBN: 9780385259019
0385259018
Characteristics: 288 p.

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WVMLStaffPicks Dec 22, 2014

For admirers of Alistair McLeod or Cormac McCarthy, D. R. MacDonald has written a stunning first novel. Set in rural Nova Scotia during the 1970’s, the characters in this story have a spareness to them that highlights their isolation. Innes, who has been deported from the United States for stealing cars, is living with his Uncle Starr while he gets back on his feet. The entanglement that ensues when Claire enters their lives results in a tense denouement that may or may not end in violence.

ColinSick Nov 07, 2013

The only fair comparison to Alastair McLeod is in the subject matter. In their writings both evoke an atmosphere that presents a visible thread to the past which tends to have a secure grip on the characters. Although the plot is average, D.R. is successful in portraying the land and its traditions as strong viable entities that steer the narrative to its denouement. As said, McLeod does the same, only better.

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