A brilliant new collection of stories from one of the most acclaimed and beloved writers of our time.
Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro’s peerless ability to give us the essence of a life in often brief but always spacious and timeless stories is once again everywhere apparent in this brilliant new collection. In story after story, she illumines the moment a life is forever altered by a chance encounter or an action not taken, or by a simple twist of fate that turns a person out of his or her accustomed path and into a new way of being or thinking. A poet, finding herself in alien territory at her first literary party, is rescued by a seasoned newspaper columnist, and is soon hurtling across the continent, young child in tow, toward a hoped-for but completely unplanned meeting. A young soldier, returning to his fiancée from the Second World War, steps off the train before his stop and onto the farm of another woman, beginning a life on the move. A wealthy young woman having an affair with the married lawyer hired by her father to handle his estate comes up with a surprising way to deal with the blackmailer who finds them out.
While most of these stories take place in Munro’s home territory - the small Canadian towns around Lake Huron - the characters sometimes venture to the cities, and the audiobook ends with four pieces set in the area where she grew up, and in the time of her own childhood: stories “autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact.” A girl who can’t sleep imagines night after wakeful night that she kills her beloved younger sister. A mother snatches up her child and runs for dear life when a crazy woman comes into her yard.
Suffused with Munro’s clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling, these tales about departures and beginnings, accidents and dangers, and outgoings and homecomings both imagined and real, paint a radiant, indelible portrait of how strange, perilous, and extraordinary ordinary life can be.
©2012 Alice Munro (P)2012 Random House Audio
I have read or listened to most of Ms. Munro's work, and this is definitely not her best. The stories have little to go on, and in contrast to her previous work (Someting I've been meaning to tell you; Runaway) the characters are dull and uninteresting. The female narrator, Kimberly Fair, reads far too slowly and in an almost kindergarten-teacher kind of way, very annoying. The best are the first few stories, previously published in the New Yorker magazine, but even these are affected negatively by the narration.
I was a Reading Specialist by trade , but mostly I'm a wife, mother, stepmother, grandmother, and servant to four cats.
Characters that were interesting.
I don't think this has a genre.
Yes, but only because they were a make and a female.
I can't count that high.
I bought this book with great expectations. I consider myself to be an intellectual, and did expect the stories to be esoteric. What I didn't expect was that most of the stories had little plot and characters hard to relate to-such a disappointment. I was bored out of my mind by the fourth story. The narration was also very dull--it sounded like they weren't any more interested than I was. What a disappointment.
I found them to be extremely catered to female readership, to the point of not being able to identify with the characters (even the male ones) or the story at all. Could not finish the whole book...
Each of the short stories in this collection is read by a man or a woman. Neither reader is very good. All male voices performed by the female reader sound the same, and the female reader's inflection was completely inappropriate -- even occasionally changing the intended meaning or preventing it from being understood. Unfortunately, this stood in the way of my enjoyment of the stories, as well as my being able to learn anything from them. Very distracting. It's a shame; Alice Munro is supposed to be the best.....
Based on the reviews I was excited to start and listen to these stories. I was very disappointed. There is not one single passage or character that moved me or made me sit up and pay attention. I don't know who these stories do appeal to but they do not appeal to me. I did listen to the end but I don't know why.
The characters were uninteresting and not sympathetic. I couldn't tell when one story ended and another began. Just plain flat
The woman's voice was unattractive; the man's unmemorable
I always wanted to read Alice Munro. Now it's done and I won't waste my reading time again
Many of the stories had little plot, but instead pivoted on a small realization.
I liked "Corrie" much better than the rest of the story because it had plot, excellent characterization, and a pivotal realization.
However, there was something more - effective use of the Unreliable Narrator (she adopts Howard's POV early on to give the reader information stated as fact, then later adopts Corrie's POV to state contradictory information as fact) to suggest a resolution that was never actually stated.
Many reviewers conclude (as Corrie apparently did) that Howard had been pocketing the blackmail money that supposedly was going to Sadie.
Let's assume that Sadie received that money and donated it to the church to pay for the new steeple, which Howard was then paid to design and build.
Remember how the parishioners all thought that Sadie was "a rare person", and they all knew who Corrie was, even though she didn't know them?
The deeper irony is that the new steeple was directly counter to the philosophy and wishes of Corrie's now-deceased father, who had hired the architect in the beginning of the story, which was how Howard the architect and Corrie met.
Remember how Corrie's father despised modern church buildings, and hired Howard to build a traditional one?
So, ultimately, the father's money paid for a steeple he would have despised.
This is my first experience with Alice Munro, which I chose b/c I figured someone who won the Nobel Prize is probably worth looking into. This collection did not knock my socks off. I'm encouraged by some comments here that suggest that there are other collections that do. I was also not thrilled with either narrator. I didn't feel their performances enhanced the stories, simply conveyed them.
I would only say that I somewhat preferred the earlier stories to the final autobiographical notes.
I found her a bit limited. ALL of her men sounded the same. Not just voice but inflections. I actually found this a bit distracting. On a few occasions, I thought that her emphasis was misplaced. But generally acceptable.
oh for goodness' sake! who thinks up these questions?
Yes. Why in the world not leave at least 5 seconds between stories. I generally listen while driving - and frequently in the dark. So it's not that easy or safe to dive for the 'pause' button. A good short story - and these are - sometimes ends beautifully and abruptly, leaving the listener lost in thought. But no time for that here! We've got to push on to the next story pronto!!! Not even two heartbeats to absorb the ending.PLEASE reconsider this policy.
The entire thing
Quite possibly one of the worst books I have ever read. This woman is atrocious. I guess growing up in Ontario means you lack family values and manners. To quote the author, "we say of some things that they can't be forgiven, or that we will never forgive ourselves. But we do - we do it all the time." The entire book lives as if this "mantra" is acceptable and indeed a way of life. Maybe for Canadians, but not from where I come from! If I were to meet this woman, I would have nothing to say except, bless your heart.
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