A Passage From Innocence

Book - 2006
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From the Giller Prize-winning author of The Bishop's Man comes a bestselling classic childhood memoir, full of humour and heartache, set in Cape Breton Island

Linden MacIntyre remembers vividly the day construction started on the causeway. September 15, 1952, was the day that Change--always for the better and always from away--arrived to link his small Cape Breton village with the wide world of the mainland. With its grand promises of jobs and riches and progress, the building of the Canso Causeway also became a potent personal icon for MacIntyre, the road that would bring him closer to the father who was always away.

In a highly evocative memoir--at once a vibrant coming-of-age story, a portrait of a vanishing way of life and a luminous reflection on fathers and sons--MacIntyre fills his pages with vivid characters. From his grandmother, the Gaelic-speaking Peigeag, who, it was rumoured, had "special powers" that could both cure and curse, to Dan Rory, the father MacIntyre struggles to know and love, these are people who inhabit a time and a place that is on the brink of transformation. No one knows this more than MacIntyre, his narrative voice ringing true on every page, the voice of a young boy both mystified and captivated by the worlds he straddles.

Shot through with humour and humanity, Causeway is an extraordinary book, a memoir that sets a new standard for the genre.

Publisher: Toronto : HarperCollins, c2006.
ISBN: 9780002007245
Characteristics: 361 p. ;,24 cm.


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Apr 17, 2012

A great read about the the coming of age of a boy in Nova Scotia and the place that he calls home.

Jul 08, 2011

The construction of the Canso Causeway is a fine backdrop for the even more real story of a community and a culture observed from the perspective of a boy growing to be a man.

Linden MacIntyre writes a great memoir. He lived through a time of great upheaval on Cape Breton and his childhood impressions provide a unique perspective on that time period. Maybe nowhere else in Canada is there that intense feeling of roots and settledness. Many leave to find work but always intend to return, and if they don't they always still consider Cape Breton home.

MacIntyre's portrayal of his parents and grandparents is accomplished through anecdotes as much as through description. Each had their own life lessons to teach and standards by which they lived. The author's love and respect for his family shines through. He grew up and left the island but is still very much linked to it through his heritage.

Cdnbookworm Apr 16, 2011

This memoir of boyhood years in Cape Breton by the cohost of CBC's fifth estate is a strong story of a boy's relationship with his father and his community. Linden was a boy always interested in the world, both the world of the adults in his own community and the world beyond Cape Breton. He became friendly with a Hungarian man, Old John, who ran the temporary camp for the causeway workers, and with a young Korean engineer, Ted. He listened to the conversations around him, and made his own sense of them. He gives his impressions of his father and the life his father had to live to support the family. His book includes references to the idea of home and the roots that we all have. As someone who grew up moving often and without a real sense of a physical place as home, I can relate to his comments on this.

Dec 27, 2009

Some good moments but it bogged down half way and I had to put the book down.

Jun 13, 2008

Wonderfully written. Well worth reading, particularly for those who have connections to the East Coast.

Mar 24, 2008

Coming-of-age memoir set in Cape Breton. Poignant, moving.

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