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The Long Stretch The Long Stretch 1999 is the first entry in Linden MacIntyre s Cape Breton Trilogy, which includes the novels The Bishop s Man 2006 and Why Men Lie 2012 Looking at this novel in isolation, it s easy to see why the author felt compelled to return to these characters in later works The Long Stretch, filled with ghosts whose past actions have determined the course that many lives follow in the present, leavesthan a few questions unanswered and narrative possibilities unexplored In th The Long Stretch 1999 is the first entry in Linden MacIntyre s Cape Breton Trilogy, which includes the novels The Bishop s Man 2006 and Why Men Lie 2012 Looking at this novel in isolation, it s easy to see why the author felt compelled to return to these characters in later works The Long Stretch, filled with ghosts whose past actions have determined the course that many lives follow in the present, leavesthan a few questions unanswered and narrative possibilities unexplored In these pages there are secrets and bad behaviour galore as well as enough half truth, rumour and innuendo to fill ten novels Sextus Gillis has returned to Port Hastings, Cape Breton, after an absence of many years and while in town encounters his cousin John a recovering alcoholic on the street outside the liquor store where else They retreat to the kitchen of John s family house located on the long stretch of road outside of town , where John now lives by himself, and what follows is a night long booze soaked conversation between the two The cousins share a fraught personal relationship John s wife Effie ran off to Toronto with Sextus Sextus a journalist published a novel loosely based on the Gillis family s private history, borrowing liberally from John s experiences , which makes their conversation filled with confession and accusation occasionally tense and even physical The novel, set in November 1983, describes events mostly from the previous two decades, but also reaches back to their fathers experiences overseas in WWII For a narrative based largely on an extended dialogue between two people, the novel generates great suspense as we wait to see what rumour will be debunked and secret revealed next The narrator is John, and as the conversation moves forward he recounts his own impressions of those times for the reader s benefit This is a complex story of tragedy, betrayal and relentless disappointment as the characters struggle to make their own lives and those of their families livable during a seemingly endless cycle of boom and bust engendered by flawed government economic initiatives in a chronically disadvantaged region More than anything else, though, it is a study of how misunderstanding, hidden truth and lingering resentment can lay waste to lives and families A compelling read I read this book after The Bishop s Man and Why Men Lie and this one goes a long way to filling in some of the background of the characters in those two books This book is well written MacIntyre has a way with words and ideas Like other reviewers have noted, the book becomes tedious form time to time as most of what happens is detailed in conversation Overall, I would recommend it as a good piece of Atlantic Canadian literature. Great book, though it does have the odd moment here and there where it gets a little dull The author perfectly describes the small town Cape Breton scenery and the characters are all very life like. Quite certainly, this book will stay in my mind s eye and on my shelf for so long that I will re read it some day. I loved the east coast feel of this one Some of the family dynamics and individual back stories were a little hard to keep track of now and then not helped along if I put the book down for a day or two Over all though, this was an enjoyable read, written by a journalist I have a great deal of respect for I would definitely read another of his novels. I found it really difficult to get into this book I didn t care what really happened in Holland, how it impacted people s lives or what the ending was.This was a confusing way to tell the story going between the past, present and distant past I had to concentrate to figure out which old man they were talking about and who was who s son.I like The Bishop s Man much better. In one apocalyptic night, John Gillis and his estranged cousin, Sextus, confront a half century of half truths and suppositions that have shaped and scarred their lives, their families and their insular Cape Breton community Telling stories that unravel a host of secrets, they begin to realize that they were damaged before they were born, their fathers and a close friend forming an unholy trilogy in a tragic moment of war Among the roots of a complex andpainful relationship, they uncover the truth of a fateful day John has spentyears trying to forgetTaut and brilliantly paced, etched with quiet humour and crafted with fiery dialogue, The Long Stretch is a mesmerizing novel in the tradition of Alistair MacLeod, David Adams Richards and Ann Marie MacDonald This book was tough to follow in the beginning, a lot of characters and time jumping Sometimes it wasn t always clear who was involved in the conversation.As you get to know the characters better it becomes easier to understand, and by the end it is engaging enough. Hard to rate this book, too many unanswered questions lots of mystery Hard to rate this book, too many unanswered questions lots of mystery Tells a great story, while revealing all that s hidden

  • Hardcover
  • 252 pages
  • The Long Stretch
  • Linden MacIntyre
  • 10 February 2019
  • 0773732098

About the Author: Linden MacIntyre

Linden MacIntyre is the co host of the fifth estate and the winner of nine Gemini Awards for broadcast journalism His most recent book, a boyhood memoir called Causeway A Passage from Innocence won both the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non Fiction and the Evelyn Richardson Prize for Non Fiction.