A powerful new collection from one of our most beloved, admired, and honored writers.
In stories that are more personal than any that shes written before, Alice Munro pieces her familys history into gloriously imagined fiction. A young boy is taken to Edinburghs Castle Rock, where his father assures him that on a clear day he can see America, and he catches a glimpse of his fathers dream. In stories that follow, as the dream becomes a reality, two sisters-in-law experience very different kinds of passion on the long voyage to the New World; a baby is lost and magically reappears on a journey from an Illinois homestead to the Canadian border.
Other stories take place in more familiar Munro territory, the towns and countryside around Lake Huron, where the past shows through the present like the traces of a glacier on the landscape and strong emotions stir just beneath the surface of ordinary comings and goings. First love flowers under the apple tree, while a stronger emotion presents itself in the barn. A girl hired as summer help, and uneasy about her place in the fancy resort world shes come to, is transformed by her employers perceptive parting gift. A father whose early expectations of success at fox farming have been dashed finds strange comfort in a routine night job at an iron foundry. A clever girl escapes to college and marriage.
Evocative, gripping, sexy, unexpectedthese stories reflect a depth and richness of experience. The View from Castle Rock is a brilliant achievement from one of the finest writers of our time.
This parish possesses no advantages. Upon the hills the soil is in many places mossy and fit for nothing. The air in general is moist. This is occasioned by the height of the hills which continually attract the clouds and the vapour that is continually exhaled from the mossy ground . . . The nearest market town is fifteen miles away and the roads so deep as to be almost impassable. The snow also at times is a great inconvenience, often for many months we can have no intercourse with mankind. And a great disadvantage is the want of bridges so that the traveller is obstructed when the waters are swelled . . . Barley oats and potatoes are the only crops raised. Wheat rye turnips and cabbage are never attempted . . .
There are ten proprietors of land in this parish: none of them resides in it.
Contribution by the Minister of Ettrick Parish, in the county of Selkirk, to the Statistical Account of Scotland, 1799
The Ettrick Valley lies ...
The first half of this collection is a little different to Munro's usual style, and the more entertaining for it. In the latter half she's on familiar territory but with the twist that she apparently reveals more of herself than in previous collection .... if Munro is a writer you have previously enjoyed or have not yet experienced, this maybe one for you, but if her writing has left you unmoved in the past The View From Castle Rock is unlikely to change your opinion.
(Reviewed by BookBrowse Review Team).
Full Review (1191 words).
Alice Munro was born in 1931 in Wingham, a small town in southwestern Ontario, to a family of small farmers. She began writing stories at the age of 12. She won a two-year scholarship to the University of Western Ontario and while there published several short stories in the student literary magazine. She left before graduating, some sources say this was because she ran out of money, others say it was to get married. She married another student, James Munro, and they raised three daughters and for several years ran a bookshop in Victoria. Later they divorced ...
If you liked The View from Castle Rock, try these:
Bridge of Sighs courses with small-town rhythms and the claims of family. Here is a town, as well as a world, defined by magnificent and nearly devastating contradictions.
Frank Bascombe is no longer a sportswriter, yet he's still living in New Jersey, where he now sells real estate. Frank has high hopes for this 4th of July weekend; but Independence Day does not turn out as he'd planned, and this decent, bewildered, profoundly observant man is wrenched, gradually and inevitably, out of his private refuge.
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