All the Men are Sleeping

D.R. MacDonald

Random House Canada, 2003

Agent: Sandra Dijkstra

With All the Men Are Sleeping, best-selling and award-winning writer D.R. MacDonald delivers a searing and muscular collection of short fiction. As he did with Cape Breton Road, MacDonald deftly explores the misunderstandings between men and women, the nature of seduction and infidelity, the way geography shapes identity, and the heartache of longing: for home, family, and love. This is a haunting collection, remarkable for its restrained passion and eloquence.

For a fisherman in "The Flowers of Bermuda" time has not repaid the loss of his young son's life. In "All the Men Are Sleeping" the compassion of a rural doctor imperils a horse and a woman he once loved. Little Norman in "Work" is rudderless without the companionship of his life-long work mate.

The brilliant force of the stories selected for All the Men Are Sleeping, some previously published in the award-winning collection, Eyestone, some written especially for the collection, will linger long after the final page is turned. Each of the stories in All the Men Are Sleeping stands alone, but together they offer a heartrending elegy for lost loves and time-forgotten places. 

“The very best practitioners of the traditional short story bring a broad view to a narrow landscape…expose what feels to us like the totality of a person: life itself in 15 or 20 pages. D.R. MacDonald, with All The Men Are Sleeping, presents stories of this classical depth, distinctly reminiscent of William Trevor’s and Alice Munro’s…. Each story unfurls in an elegant, measured, and quietly gorgeous prose, like a sail rising smoothly up a mainmast….  MacDonald never hits a false note in this extraordinary performance – beautiful and lasting in the way of a time-weathered landscape, offering an authenticity and a quality one cannot shake from one's mind."
O The Oprah Magazine

“A large and emotionally potent second collection.”
—Kirkus Reviews

“D.R. MacDonald has toiled too long outside the spotlight, so let's fix him in its glare without delay: His All The Men Are Sleeping is one of our finest short story collections to come along in a long time…Like his friend Alistair MacLeod, with whom he is inevitably compared, MacDonald writes elegiacally of a distinct Cape Breton heritage…That Cape Breton heritage is tenacious and gutsy, shaped by the harsh landscape and sea that for generations have yielded a never-easy livelihood…But these stories also distinguish themselves with their remarkably original and compelling dramas…As with the best short stories, these pieces have as many layers and nuances as a good novel. With supreme skill, MacDonald weaves a lifetime of history into brief encounters or the span of at most a few days, teasing out the underlying story so it enthralls your curiosity like a whodunit...already, with one fine novel and these outstanding stories, he has jumped ahead of the crowded field of ‘promising’ writers. All The Men Are Sleeping is a rare and wonderful book that deserves to last.”
—Toronto Star