To Every Thing There Is a Season: A Cape Breton Christmas Story(McClelland & Stewart) is written by Alistair MacLeod and illustrated by Peter Rankin. It is the story of a man looking back at a Christmas when he was eleven and inducted into an adult world that no longer believes in Santa Claus. MacLeod’s prose is typically unsentimental and typically heartbreaking. As always, he pays particular attention to animals: our reliance on them, their reliance on us.
This tale was first published in the Globe and Mail in 1977, again in the short story collection As Birds Bring Forth the Sun in 1986, and now again in 2004. It will probably be republished in another twenty years.
As the prologue says, “Christmas is a time of both past and present and often the two are imperfectly blended.” MacLeod’s writing and Rankin’s illustrations are perfectly blended in this beautiful little book.