Tuesday 12 April 2011

Munro, Alice "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"

Munro, Alice "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" - 2001

A collection of short stories. Not really my type of thing, I like long novels, I like to get to know the characters, be part of their lives, not just a visitor for an hour or so.

Alice Munro has a good writing style and I would have loved to read all nine of these stories as a book, wouldn't have minded reading 500+ pages on every single one of them. Alas, it was not to be, short stories she set out to write and short stories she wrote. Granted, good ones, and if you enjoy short stories, you should read these.

From the back cover:

"In these stories lives come into focus through single events or sudden memories which bring the past bubbling to the surface. The past, as Alice Munro's characters discover, is made up not only of what is remembered, but also what isn't. The past is there, just out of the picture, but if memories haven't been savoured, recalled in the mind and boxed away, it's as if they have never been - until a moment when the pieces of the jigsaw re-form suddenly, sometimes pleasurably but more often painfully. Women look back at their young selves, at first marriages made when they were naive and trusting, at husbands and their difficult, demanding little ways.

There is in this new collection an underlying heartbreak, a sense of regret in her characters for what might have been, for a fork in the road not taken, a memory suppressed in an act of prudent emotional housekeeping. But at the same time there is hope, there are second chances - here are people who reinvent themselves, seize life by the throat, who have moved on and can dare to conjure up the hidden memories, daring to go beyond what is remembered.

We discussed this in our book club in April 2005.

I have also read "Runaway" in the meantime.

Alice Munro received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 for being the "master of the contemporary short story".

Alice Munro received the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 for her lifetime body of work.

I contribute to this page: Read the Nobels and you can find all my blogs about Nobel Prize winning authors and their books here

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