I was quite saddened to hear about the recent death of Alistair MacLeod. I had the good fortune of meeting him when he visited the library as part of our Adult Conference series in January, 2004.
He was to be in town to speak at McGill and Concordia Universities, and when I asked if he would be willing to add Pointe-Claire Library to his itinerary, he very generously agreed.
He spoke to us about his International IMPAC Dublin Literary award-winning novel “No Great Mischief” – a story about estranged brothers, family tragedy, and life in Cape Breton. Fic M1653. He spoke eloquently – but I remember that he was also irreverent and humourous. When asked if he spoke Gaelic, he said that he did not. But then he laughingly added that he understood a little bit: “I’m somewhat like a dog in that respect”.
The room was overflowing with adults – some were sitting on the floor (which I later learned is not permitted). There were so many questions and Alistair stayed late into the night to answer them all. After everyone left, Dr MacLeod (who was also a University professor) munched on a few cookies and told me that he had really enjoyed the evening. The questions from the audience were great and he had felt that they really understood his book. It was an exceptional evening and I remember that it felt as if everyone had “connected”.
Those who were lucky enough to attend the event will always remember Dr MacLeod’s musings on creativity and the nature of humanity. Without a doubt, Dr Alistair MacLeod was one of Canada’s most gifted authors. May he rest in peace.