YOWZA, this guy can write! Holy prose, Batman! 4.5 stars for this beauty of a book.This is a collection of sixteen stories, published between 1968 and 1999. All of the stories take place on or near the author's native Cape Breton, Nova Scotia. He writes with such a quiet beauty about the local people and landscape, as the people go about making a living at fishing, coal mining, raising animals, and so on.My favorite three stories: BEST: "Island"----This story knocked my socks off. He managed to get all the elements of a fine novel in a story of only forty-four pages. It's about a woman who is the last in a long family line of lighthouse keepers. It's spooky and beautiful and heartbreaking all at once. I found myself weeping a few pages from the end, and when I finished the story, I couldn't read anything else for hours afterward. I was absolutely stunned, and I still get chills thinking about this story. DAMN! Did I happen to mention this guy can WRITE?! (Are you rolling your eyes at me yet?)#2) "The Lost Salt Gift of Blood"#3) "To Everything There is a Season" There was only one story I wasn't all that thrilled with: "Second Spring." It wasn't terrible, just so-so for me.