OPINION Tyler Keevil

NWR Issue 99

Rich Text: Tyler Keevil on his Short Story collection Burrard Inlet

In Alistair MacLeod’s story, ‘The Boat’, a young narrator on the cusp of manhood is torn between following his dreams, of leaving the fishing community in which he was raised to pursue an education, and joining his father on his boat. His mother, of tough Cape Breton stock, is adamant he fulfil his duties and step into his father’s boots, whether they fit or not. What the narrator begins to understand as the story progresses, however, is that his father’s feelings regarding the boat are as ambiguous as his own, and that his father ‘had never been intended for a fisherman either physically or mentally… he had never really loved it.’ MacLeod’s story is about, among other things, the roles we are obliged to play on the stage of our social environment. The narrator, like his father, wrestles with notions of duty, loyalty and masculinity.

The stories in my collection for Parthian, Burrard Inlet, also take place in a world of saltwater and fishing vessels, of work and working men. But whereas MacLeod was raised in that world, I only passed through it...

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