- Publisher: VINTAGE
- Format: Paperback | 320 pages
- Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 20mm | 232g
- Publication date: 7 November 1996
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0099741318
- ISBN 13: 9780099741312
- Sales rank: 76,344
These dazzling and utterly satisfying stories explore varieties and degrees of love - filial, platonic, sexual, parental and imagined - in the lives of apparently ordinary folk. In fact, Munro's characters pulse with idiosyncratic life. Under the polished surface of these unsentimental dispatches from the small-town and rural front lies a strong undertow of violence and sexuality, repressed until something snaps, with extraordinary force in some of the stories, sadly and strangely in others.
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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.
"She has a touch of genius" Mail on Sunday "Whatever it is that makes some writing come alive in every phrase and sentence, Alice Munro has it... I wouldn't willingly miss one of her stories" Sunday Times "Munro has been compared with Proust, shortlisted for the Booker Prize, and remains - though dazzling - quite unperturbed and unaffected, her writing smooth and supple" Financial Times "A work of great brilliance and depth... Munro's power of analysis, of sensation, and thoughts, is almost Proustian in its sureness" New Statesman "Only a few writers continue to create those full-bodied miniature universes of the old school. Some of her short stories are so ample and fulfilling that they feel like novels. They present whole landscapes and cultures, whole families of characters" -- Anne Tyler
More splendid examples of Munroe's unusual way with the story: how she seems to write about nothing fixed or stable, to pile on specificity upon dense specificity, then have the story resolve movingly without it having precisely homed. As in her other work, family and friends are the ever-shifting yet tight-margined main element here - and Munro need only throw enough of these people together, intimates in one degree or another, to have her story start its gorgeous meander. In the title story, an aunt's life becomes an obscure paradigm of "love and grudges," elements that define Munro's human galaxy. The next story, "Lichen" - a man's visit to his ex-wife, bringing along his new girlfriend; yet admitting to the motherly but sad ex-wife that he has yet another girl he's interested in - is a brilliant piece of psychological writing: dependency and affection and scorn all intermixed. "Monsieur Les Deux Chapeaux" - the never-ending responsibility of one more "settled" brother for another - is nearly as good; and "White Dump" - an almost plotless story set on vacation (a number of the stories here are) - tests feelings as a tongue does a tooth that's just about to hurt. Munro's fecklessness serves her less well in others; even with their masterful detail-accumulations, they seem a little too much the laid-back same. Yet everything here - strong and less so - still speaks of a writer who does something of her own and recognizably different with short fiction. (Kirkus Reviews)
Alice Munro, who received the National Book Critics Circle Award for her latest collection of stories, The Love of a Good Woman, is widely acknowledged as a modern master of the short story. In this earlier collection, she demonstrates all of those strengths that have won her so many literary accolades. A divorced woman returns to her childhood home where she confronts the memory of her parents' confounding yet deep bond. The accidental near-drowning of a child exposes the fragility of the trust between children and parents. A young man, remembering a terrifying childhood incident, wrestles with the responsibility he has always felt for his younger brother. In these and other stories Alice Munro proves once again a sensitive and compassionate chronicler of our times. Drawing us into the most intimate corners of ordinary lives, she reveals much about ourselves, our choices, and our experiences of love.