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Penguin Canada Summer 2017

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    Distributor: Penguin Random House Availability: Available On Sale Date: May 30, 2017 Carton Quantity: 24
All the Beloved Ghosts
By (author): Alison MacLeod
9780735233768 Paperback, Trade English General Trade FICTION / Short Stories May 30, 2017
$24.95 CAD
Active 5.76 x 8.21 x 0.7 in 256 pages Penguin Canada
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.

ALISON 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.

www.alison-macleod.com/

Author Residence: Brighton, England

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Publicity: National Media Attention

National Review Mailing

“If you read only one book of short stories this year, it should be this one… MacLeod obviously loves taking risks—mixing the metaphysical with the mundane—and she is so brilliant at it that she never fails to keep the reader engaged.” —Daily Mail

“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 (starred)

“MacLeod blends memoir and fiction to stunning effect in her short story collection, blurring the lines between life and death as she explores the nature of memory…The collection’s haunting prose is by turns heartbreaking and uplifting, transforming the stories’ heavy themes into something entirely unique.”Paste Magazine, Best Book of 2017

"MacLeod has with this anthology has produced a ground-breaking collection of short stories that strike with such power and tenderness the reader can’t help but be moved by their impact … All the Beloved Ghosts explores the human condition with an unnerving eye for detail; I would challenge anyone to read this anthology and not be moved..." —Storgy Magazine

“Alison MacLeod, the author of the Man Booker-shortlisted novel Unexploded, seamlessly knits together essayistic and imaginative modes of writing in her second short-story collection All the Beloved Ghosts. Historical figures such as Sylvia Plath, Princess Diana, Anton Chekhov and Angelica Garnett rub shoulders with fictional characters and the author herself in a series of emotionally powerful meditations on ageing and memory, sickness and death. MacLeod’s formal sophistication and her impeccably elegant, richly textured prose make this another collection to savour.” —The Sunday Times

“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

“Throughout these stories we’re reminded, with skilful subtlety, of just how much the past is integral to the present.” —Country Life

"MacLeod is a gently playful but fearless writer who explores a range of narrative style. There is little nostalgia in these finely wrought stories of memory, of the inscrutable, insistent presence of the absent." - Atlantic Books Today

“Through nuanced and often lyrical prose, MacLeod imbues cultural figures and events with color and emotional authenticity. Even rumors are swaddled in a luminous believability until they are beyond doubt. Many of the characters in All the Beloved Ghosts are figures lost to the past, including some historical icons such as poet Sylvia Plath, Princess Diana, and Virginia Woolf’s niece, Angelica Garnett. Even the author’s great-aunt makes an appearance as a main character. Resurrected and celebrated through finely honed storytelling, they are spirit made flesh again… They are the current, the mortal—those with heft and presence, an internal monologue, a beating heart and tender parts, and the capacity to love and be loved…[A]n astute and compassionate observer of human nature.” —Los Angeles Review of Books

“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

“MacLeod’s prose is evocative, densely packed with sensory description, and versatile.” —Quill & Quire

“Short story lovers will devour Alison MacLeod’s evocative all the beloved ghosts.” —Stylist Magazine (Editor’s Pick)

“The stories exercise a hypnotic effect, providing a kaleidoscope of life, colour and anguish.” —Daily Express

"Macleod is playful, engaged, interested in the world about her… We’ll be surprised if there is a better collection of short stories published … this year.” —Bookmunch

All the Beloved Ghosts is a far-reaching and graceful suite of short fiction… Each piece touches the heart of what it means to be alive.” —The Sydney Morning Herald

A “brilliant gathering of short fiction.” —Booklist (starred review)

All The Beloved Ghosts is an evocative, masterfully written collection of 12 stories that invokes and creatively re-imagines familial and historical “ghosts”. The stories range from one about the author’s great-aunt set in 1920s Nova Scotia, to tales spun from the public lives of historical and literary icons such as Princess Diana, American poet Sylvia Plath and Russian writer Anton Chekhov. The lines between reality and fiction, and the living and the dead, are constantly blurred. Often it is MacLeod who does the haunting, stepping in and projecting the workings of her imagination onto episodes in these people’s lives… And central to all 12 stories are matters of the heart… Her writing is intricately wrought and moves with incredible subtlety… No word is misplaced: this is an author in full control of her craft.” —The Strait Times

“Compelling characters and pin-sharp insights into their emotional and psychological landscapes are Alison MacLeod’s strong suit … an intriguing blend of domestic realism, the supernatural and leaps of the imagination … These are arresting tales; undercurrents of passion swirl beneath their controlled, elegant surfaces.” —The Lady (Book of the Week)

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