Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - A Short Story by Alistair MacLeod - 1974

J The Lost Salt Gift of Blood - A Short Story by Alistair MacLeod - 1974

Buried in Print’s Alistair MacLeod Project

Alistair  MacLeod

July 26, 1936 - North Battleford, Canada

April 20, 2014 - Windsor, Canada

Like much of his work “The Lost Salt  Gift of Blood” is set in the rugged Cape Breton area of Novia Scotia

Living is not easy for those in Cape Breton.  Many of the men fish for a living.  Large families are the norm.  There are some tourists who come from brief visits to experience the natural Beauty.  The story opens with an elegant tribute  to this.

The narrator, we never learn his name or his tie the area but he clearly once lived there. Like many  people, he has moved to a big city, wanting a better life.  He now lives somewhere in America’s midwest.  He drove a rented Volkswagon 2500 miles to visit Cape Breton. He seems to have no close Family left there. 

When we meet him he is  watching some boys fishing on the coast.  I imagined he might be thinking of his own days as a boy, fishing  to Help his family.  

One of the boys, John, lives with an older couple.  The narrator is invited to their home.  He knows them from before.

  He learns their four daughters have all married and moved away.  Only the boy lives with them now.  One of their daughters and her husband were killed in a car crash.  The Boy who he saw fishing lives with them.  

There is a deep sadness in this story.  The man knows he has lost all real connections with the area.  



Buried In Print said...

There is a lot of sadness here, I agree, but there is also some comfort, don't you find, in the way that he travels away from this place but still holds his memories? I think the connection he feels to this village and its inhabitants balances out the sorrows. And the boys at play?

The settings in the Atlantic provinces can be a challenge to sort out, even for people living in (the land currently called) Canada, but Cape Breton is part of the province of Nova Scotia. It's even more confusing because many of the town/village/city names repeat throughout the area.

Mel u said...

Thanks fixed error. Hold to catch up by Month end