Linden MacIntyre's <i>The Long Stretch</i> might be a pun, a direct reference to an area of Cape Breton, Nova Scotia in the neighbourhood of present day Port Hastings and an indirect reference to the book-length conversation between two long-parted cousins. I think it would be unfair to add the image of a reader mid-yawn, preparing for a long sleep. Unfair because, although it is a "quiet" book, it is captivatingly moving. And it moves with the grace and skill of a writer seasoned well beyond his first novel. Readers! Prepare yourself for a stream of consciousness that meanders across both time and place conforming itself to the Maritime landscape more like a muskeg string bog than a mountain creek. Steel yourself for love lost and bitterness rekindled, for wilful ignorance and blind ambition in a family's saga from the post-World War II era through the generation that followed it. Resign yourself to an ending that sheds light on the past without giving away much of anything about the future, to a gun that isn't loaded, to a story that wrestles constantly with history without revealing how or even whether it has the power to transform the present.
These books should be read in order of writing.
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