Open Secrets

Open Secrets

Paperback Vintage Books

By (author) Alice Munro

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 304 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 196mm x 22mm | 222g
  • Publication date: 1 February 2007
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 009945971X
  • ISBN 13: 9780099459712
  • Sales rank: 72,694

Product description

Ranging from the 1850s through two world wars to the present, and from Canada to Brisbane, the Balkans and the Somme, these dazzling stories reveal the secrets of unconventional women who refuse to be contained.

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Author information

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize for 2009, Alice Munro is the author of eleven collections of stories, most recently The View from Castle Rock, and a novel, Lives of Girls and Women. She has received many awards and prizes, including three of Canada's Governor General's Literary Awards and two Giller Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, the W.H. Smith Book Award in the UK, the National Book Critics Circle Award in the US, and was shortlisted for the Booker Prize for The Beggar Maid. Her stories have appeared in the New Yorker, Atlantic Monthly, the Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages. She lives with her husband in Clinton, Ontario, near Lake Huron in Canada.

Review quote

Ranging from the 1850s through two world wars to the present, and from Canada to Brisbane, the Balkans and the Somme, these dazzling stories reveal the secrets of unconventional women who refuse to be contained.

Editorial reviews

With a few strokes of her pen, Munro (Friend of My Youth, 1990) has the unerring ability to familiarize us with a foreign country or the entire life of another person. Even if you've already read these latest stories in the New Yorker, you'll want to luxuriate in their gorgeous prose again and again. Munro's women must take repeated flight from the harshness of their realities - bad spinsterhood, worse marriages - into their imaginations, where wrongs are alternately redressed or allowed to fester into self-doubt and guilt. Louisa, the protagonist of "Carried Away," is a small Canadian town's lonely librarian who receives an unexpected letter (one of many tantalizing missives sent and received in this complex, multilayered collection) from the equally desolate Jack, a WW I soldier whom she has never met but who remembers her from the library and woos her through the mail. After the war, he never introduces himself in person, and she reads in the newspaper of his betrayal and marriage to another woman. Jack continues to be the obsession of her thoughts and actions when his head is severed from his body in a horrific accident at the piano factory where he works and Louisa plunges into a "normal" life and marries the factory's owner. Years later, when an elderly Louisa thinks she is having a conversation with an elderly Jack in town, we realize that Jack's death or even Jack himself may be a figment of her imagination. Similarly, we aren't quite sure if an old bag lady in Victoria, B.C., was kidnapped in her youth by Albanian tribesmen ("An Albanian Virgin"), if a woman in the 1850s Canadian wilderness actually murdered her husband, who may or may not have been abusing her ("A Wilderness Station"), or if a teenager who disappeared from a hike was murdered, kidnapped, or simply ran off with a guy she had the hots for ("Open Secrets"). In Munro's hands, fact is a stepsister to fiction and reality may have nothing in common with life's truths. Storytelling made essential by one of the true pros. (Kirkus Reviews)

Flap copy

In these eight tales, Munro evokes the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected. She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia. And Munro shows us how one woman's romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present-day Canada. "Open Secrets is a book that dazzles with its faith in language and in life."--"New York Times Book Review