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The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon

3.75  ·  Rating Details ·  57 Ratings  ·  14 Reviews
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. Mitche
Hardcover, 96 pages
Published October 1st 1993 by McClelland & Stewart (first published January 1st 1976)
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Apr 17, 2016 Manybooks rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: anyone who loves humour and satire
Sly, witty, and laugh-aloud funny at times, this truly is one of my all time favourite novels (actually, it is more a longer novella) by Canadian literary icon W.O. Mitchell (and my review will not focus all that much on the actual themes and contents to any extent, simply because as a satire The Black Bonspiel of Willie MacCrimmon definitely needs to be read and experienced without the risk of too many possible spoilers making an appearance).

A Faustian type tale of Southern Albertan cobbler Wil
Lisa  Shamchuk
Feb 21, 2017 Lisa Shamchuk rated it it was amazing
What a neat little story! It's a novella about what happens when a small town Alberta shoemaker goes up against the Devil in a curling game. Super fun!

Nancy Knott
Dec 30, 2016 Nancy Knott rated it liked it
Happy to come across a curling story!
Feb 21, 2011 Ryan rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, humour, canlit
Derivative works have a bad rap, and it's one I'm not sure is entirely deserved. This is, quite definitely, a derivative work, and fully admits that it is so; Faust is name-checked multiple times throughout, and there are parallels to The Devil and Daniel Webster as well. In being so derivative, though, it's still an instructive tale, and you're left with the feeling that Mitchell is trying to say something here about the Canadian identify. The European Fausts desired knowledge and power, and We ...more
Apr 19, 2008 Debs rated it really liked it
Shelves: canadian, 2006, borrowed
This was a cute and funny book! It was originally written as a short story, then adapted as a radio play and made into a stage play (which I'd kill to see). You'll giggle at this if you know the least bit about curling. I mean, seriously, how many curling stories are there? Aside, I still have no idea what a bonspiel is but I want to maintain the mystery by not looking it up.
Apr 07, 2011 Stacy rated it liked it
I should have finished this wee book a lot faster, but haven't had much time to read lately. Mitchell is a real hoot. He manages to critique all the citizens of a town with as much humour (or more) than Stephen Leacock, but without Leacock's bitterness. It is also so Canadian that you want to stand up and cheer. Mostly, it's just fun.
Bob Paterson-watt
Feb 29, 2016 Bob Paterson-watt rated it really liked it
Such a quirky tale, I wonder what sort of dream-life visited W.O. in the dark of night. Love the curling focus, the literary connections, and the drawings are great. Must see the stage play some day soon.
Oct 25, 2016 June rated it it was amazing
A quick read, both funny and thought provoking.
Dec 15, 2013 Catherine rated it it was amazing
Absolutely brilliant! A hilarious Faustian tale about curling; what's not to love? A super quick read, perfect for a train/bus/plane/car ride. Would love to see the play of this.
Carolyn F.
Apr 24, 2012 Carolyn F. marked it as could-not-finish
Recommended to Carolyn F. by: Unknown Books group
Shelves: library-book
I tried to read this book. I skimmed the reviews not wanting to spoil the book but maybe I should have read them more closely. A funny book about the sport of curling, what's not to like. Well, they throw in a Faustian situation and then it became boring. Maybe if I had kept reading I may have changed my mind but I have too many books to read so I gave up. Not for me.
Sep 24, 2015 Eric rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed, stage-play, 2015
-"A voice cried Sweep no more! Macbeth hath murdered sweep."

A stage play about curling, the devil, and Canada. Based loosely on Faust, this is a fairly funny, witty, and dry humor-filled story that has some great moments.
Aug 07, 2016 Macho rated it did not like it
You can't help but feel that even Stuart McLean would be embarrassed by the calculated quaintness of this colonial Canadian curling tale.
May 27, 2012 Don added it
Great story--pretty much The Devil and Daniel Webster but much more fun!
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William Ormond Mitchell was an author of novels, short stories, and plays. He is best known for his 1947 novel Who Has Seen The Wind, which has sold close to a million copies in North America, and a collection of short stories, Jake and the Kid, which subsequently won the Stephen Leacock Award. Both of these portray life on the Canadian prairies where he grew up in the early part of the 20th centu ...more
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