In Alice Munros superb new collection, we find stories about women of all ages and circumstances, their lives made palpable by the subtlety and empathy of this incomparable writer.
The runaway of the title story is a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband. In "Passion," a country girl emerging into the larger world via a job in a resort hotel discovers in a single moment of stunning insight the limits and lies of that mysterious emotion. Three stories are about a woman named Julietin the first, she escapes from teaching at a girls school into a wild and irresistible love match; in the second she returns with her child to the home of her parents, whose life and marriage she finally begins to examine; and in the last, her child, caught, she mistakenly thinks, in the grip of a religious cult, vanishes into an unexplained and profound silence. In the final story, "Powers," a young woman with the ability to read the future sets off a chain of events that involves her husband-to-be and a friend in a lifelong pursuit of what such a gift really means, and who really has it.
Throughout this compelling collection, Alice Munros understanding of the people about whom she writes makes them as vivid as our own neighbors. Here are the infinite betrayals and surprises of lovebetween men and women, between friends, between parents and childrenthat are the stuff of all our lives. It is Alice Munros special gift to make these stories as vivid and real as our own.
Carla heard the car coming before it topped the little rise in the road that around here they called a hill. Its her, she thought. Mrs. JamiesonSylviahome from her holiday in Greece. From the barn doorbut far enough inside that she could not readily be seenshe watched the road Mrs. Jamieson would have to drive by on, her place being half a mile farther along the road than Clark and Carlas.
If it was somebody getting ready to turn in at their gate it would be slowing down by now. But still Carla hoped. Let it not be her.
It was. Mrs. Jamieson turned her head once, quicklyshe had all she could do maneuvering her car through the ruts and puddles the rain had made in the gravelbut she didnt lift a hand off the wheel to wave, she didnt spot Carla. Carla got a glimpse of a tanned arm bare to the shoulder, hair bleached a lighter color than it had been before, more white now than silver-blond, and an expression ...
This is Munro's 12th book, following Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001). It contains eight short stories (several of which have appeared elsewhere) that confront the facts of aging, changing, remembering, regretting and, of course, one's own mortality.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (547 words).
Alice Munro was born in 1931 in Wingham, a small town in southwestern Ontario,
to a family of small farmers. She received a scholarship to the University of
Western Ontario, but left before graduating in order to marry another student,
James Munro. The Munros raised three daughters and for several years ran a
bookshop in Victoria; they eventually divorced and Alice Munro married Gerald
Fremlin, a geographer. The Fremlins divide their time between Clinton,
Ontario--not far from Munro's hometown of Wingham--and Comox, British Columbia.
She is the three-time winner of the Governor General's Literary Award, Canada's highest; the Lannan Literary Award; and the W. H. Smith Award, given to Open Secrets as the best ...
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