As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories
As Birds Bring Forth the Sun and Other Stories is a collection of short stories by Canadian author Alistair MacLeod set predominantly in Cape Breton Island, Nova Scotia and in Newfoundland. It was originally published in 1986. All of its stories were later republished in Island. Macleod explores how family stories and myths, even though they are fictitious, fold into the present to provide comfort in times of emotional distress. The narrator retells the family history of an ancestor who saves and nurtures back to health an injured puppy on the brink of death, only to be violently killed by the dog’s offspring a few years later. The dog, known in the stories as the “grey dog of death”, consistently appears at times (in dreams or in visions) in the family’s history as an omen of imminent death for a relative. The narrator is reminded of the story as he and his siblings sit in a Toronto hospital at the bedside of their ill father. While none of them mention the story to each other, it is clear to the narrator they are all thinking about it, thinking about how even its mention may signal the death of their father.
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