Friend of My Youth

Friend of My Youth

4.14 (2,948 ratings by Goodreads)
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A woman haunted by dreams of her dead mother. An adulterous couple stepping over the line where the initial excitement ends and the pain begins. A widow visiting a Scottish village in search of her husband's past - and instead discovering unsettling truths about a total stranger. The ten stories in this collection not only astonish and delight but also convey the unspoken mysteries at the heart of all human more

Product details

  • Paperback | 288 pages
  • 128 x 194 x 22mm | 222.26g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Repr.
  • 0099820609
  • 9780099820604
  • 88,224

Review Text

By now Munro can do with the short story whatever she wishes, and get away with it. She can paraphrase old bad poems ("Meneseteung") and in-fold a slight story about burial at sea ("Goodness and Mercy") so that, when opened up, the result is a masterly revision of Chekhov's masterpiece "Gusev." So much particularized life is packed into her every story that for her just to nudge these pieces causes glacially significant movement. Here, that movement most impressively is about sex - adulterous sex experienced by otherwise contentedly married women. In "Five Points," a married woman takes from her lover the honor of sex, a network of feeling like the "underground system that you call 'dreams'. . .all coiling and stretching, unpredictable but finally familiar. . ." To another, in "Oh, What Avails," adultery - "her sustaining secret" - means the continuance of her married life, "and in order to continue it she must have this other. This other what? This investigation - to herself she still thinks of it as an investigation." Adultery brings suffering aplenty in the stories, but it is only another kind of suffering in the weft of marriage. Forgiveness born of knowledge is the air of Munro's fiction: the husband, in the best story here, "Oranges and Apples," considers his wife's excessively colorful clothing and thinks: "He was willing to see all sorts of difficult things about Barbara - her uncharitableness, perhaps, or intransigence - but nothing that made her seem a little foolish, or sad." Generosity is squeezed from life's crowding. Munro's finest collection yet. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

"Read not more than one of her stories a day, and allow them to work their spell: they are made last" Observer "Alice Munro's stories, Friend of My Youth, are wonderful: intricate, deep, full of absorbing and funny detail, and opening into painful and tender memories with cunningly concealed skill " Independent on Sunday "She is our Chekhov, and is going to outlast most of her contemporaries" -- Cynthia Ozick "Brilliant at evoking life's diversity and unrivalled chronicler of human nature under a vast span of aspects, moods and pressures" Sunday Times "The particular brilliance of Alice Munro is that in range and depth her short stories are almost novels" Daily Telegraphshow more

About Alice Munro

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 more

Rating details

2,948 ratings
4.14 out of 5 stars
5 40% (1,190)
4 39% (1,152)
3 16% (472)
2 4% (110)
1 1% (24)
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