At last, a book about curling, the noble sport that every winter turns otherwise sane Canadian men and women into broom-waving fanatics. Given the chance, any one of them would actively consider selling their soul to the devil for a chance to win the national championship known as “the Brier.”
That’s the offer made to Willie MacCrimmon in this hilarious story by W.O. Mitchell. The time is the not-too-distant past, and the place is Shelby, Alberta, a small town in the foothills. Willie, a widower, is the town’s shoe-maker, but like a good Scot he lives to curl; curling in fact is “his only active religion.” He and his rink are so expert that he attracts the attention of the Devil himself, who comes to Shelby and makes him an offer hard to resist. The Devil (a keen curler–and how they keep good ice in hell is fully explained) promises Willie that he’ll win the Brier–if on his death Willie will undertake to come and curl in hell for him in the Celestial Brier.
Willie makes the Faustian deal – but with the proviso that he will save his soul if he and his Shelby rink can beat the Devil’s rink in a challenge match. And so Willie and his friends – with the help of the Reverend Pringle – take on the Devil’s crew of Judas, Macbeth and Guy Fawkes in the most crucial curling match of all time, a matter of after-life and death.
It's a fine, old-fashioned funny story, as you’d expect from W.O. Mitchell. You might even call it a sweeping saga.
About W.O. Mitchell
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Published October 23, 1993
by McClelland & Stewart.
Young Adult, Literature & Fiction.