All the Beloved Ghosts

Category: Book
By (author): Macleod, Alison
Subject:  FICTION / Canadian
  FICTION / Literary
  FICTION / Short Stories (single author)
  FICTION / Visionary & Metaphysical
Publisher: Penguin Canada
Published: May 2017
Format: Book-paperback
Pages: 256
Size: 8.25in x 5.62in
Our Price:
$ 24.95
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Additional Notes

From The Publisher*From 1920s Nova Scotia to the London riots of 2011, from Oscar Wilde's grave to the Brighton Pavilion, these exquisitely formed stories capture the small tragedies and profound truths of existence.

Evocative, sensual, and tender, these stories confront reality culture and interrogate our relationship with iconic figures, coming to life at the boundary between reality and fiction. A professor of cardiovascular physiology lingers on the cusp of consciousness as he waits for his new heart to be delivered, still beating, from another body--and is carried on a tidal wave of memories to an attic room half a century ago. Visiting Sylvia Plath's grave in Yorkshire, the author imagines a conversation with the poet, a fellow North American who settled in grey England. She reflects on the treasured photograph of Princess Diana she took as a teenager, one of a multitude taken during a life cut short. And at Charleston, Angelica Garnett, child of the Bloomsbury Group, is overpowered by echoes of the past--all the beloved ghosts that spring to life before her eyes. MacLeod's characters hover on the border of life and death, where memory is most vivid and the present most elusive.
Review Quote*"Wide-ranging and haunting.. these stories are written in striking prose that seamlessly blends the real with the fictive, tapping into the unknown with compassion and genuine human emotion. A uniquely cohesive collection…these stories are subtly moving and thoroughly engaging." -Kirkus (starred)

"MacLeod's collection of stories deftly blends fiction and facts, memory and biography, to delve into the precarious nature of human life… Finely layered and often teasingly opaque, MacLeod's captivating book of stories presents a diverse array of voices, each as particular as the last." - Publishers Weekly 

"In this new short story collection, Alison MacLeod works with what matters.  She never flinches from the real and the present yet she breathes such life into memory that past worlds scintillate on the page.  Her prose is urgent, unexpected, and robust, moving effortlessly between time frames and never ceasing to be beautiful.  From the description of the foetal heart of Denis Noble (‘a dangling button on the thread of life' taking shape inside his mother) in 'The Heart of Denis Noble', to Lionel protecting the tube of sperm he carries in his shirt pocket (‘as if he's cradling a small head against his chest') in 'There are precious things', to Angelica's trespassing on a private moment of the ghost of the housekeeper of her childhood years in 'all the beloved ghosts', the prose gives breadth to lives lived, both iconic and ordinary, and helps us understand how we are connected to them.  It is a marvellous and unerringly poignant piece of work." -Michèle Forbes, author of Ghost Moth

"This collection's taut, restrained prose belies bravery, as the author walks a tightrope between fiction and reality. Chekhov narrates his own death, Tony Blair is put under citizen's arrest (I cheered!), and ordinary men and women have conversations that make a reader want to lean in, as if to eavesdrop. Alison MacLeod's range and ambition are uniquely impressive." -Deborah Willis, author of The Dark and Other Love Stories

"MacLeod has an engaged delight in the stuff of life." -The Times Literary Supplement

"MacLeod knows that life and death, the terrible and the mundane always co-exist--her genius lies in illustrating these truths while simultaneously spinning a bona fide pageturner." -Daily Mail

"MacLeod's fictions are modern indeed...tender; pierced; translucent...[Her] characters are strong, and they are worth listening to." -Guardian
Biographical NoteALISON MacLEOD was born in Canada and has lived in the UK since 1987. She is the author of three novels, The Changeling, The Wave Theory of Angels, and Unexploded, which was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize for Fiction 2013, and a collection of stories, Fifteen Modern Tales of Attraction. MacLeod is the joint winner of the 2016 Eccles British Library Writer in Residence Award. She is Professor of Contemporary Fiction at Chichester University. The author lives in Brighton, England.