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The Love of a Good Womanby Alice Munro
Synopses & Reviews
In eight new stories, a master of the form extends and magnifies her great themes — the vagaries of love, the passion that leads down unexpected paths, the chaos hovering just under the surface of things, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart.
Time stretches out in some of the stories: a man and a woman look back forty years to the summer they met — the summer, as it turns out, that the true nature of their lives was revealed. In others time is telescoped: a young girl finds in the course of an evening that the mother she adores, and whose fluttery sexuality she hopes to emulate, will not sustain her — she must count on herself.
Some choices are made — in a will, in a decision to leave home — with irrevocable and surprising consequences. At other times disaster is courted or barely skirted: when a mother has a startling dream about her baby; when a woman, driving her grandchildren to visit the lakeside haunts of her youth, starts a game that could have dangerous consequences. The rich layering that gives Alice Munro's work so strong a sense of life is particularly apparent in the title story, in which the death of a local optometrist brings an entire town into focus — from the preadolescent boys who find his body, to the man who probably killed him, to the woman who must decide what to do about what she might know. Large, moving, profound — these are stories that extend the limits of fiction.
"This gathering of eight stories, some of them close to nouvella length and five of which appeared in The New Yorker in recent years, is Ms Munro's tenth book and ninth collection of stories. Nothing radically innovative here; rather the elegantly written, solid, cumulative, and layered rendition (not unlike the stories of the late Peter Taylor) of several generations in their gradual growth and change. Set mostly in rural or resort areas in Canada, these stories are most powerful in their exploration of characters who are remarkably and fully dimensional. Ms. Munro's work has been widely reviewed and highly praised. She is eminently deserving of such attention and admiration." Reviewed by Andrew Witmer, Virginia Quarterly Review (Copyright 2006 Virginia Quarterly Review)
"Superb...Long ago, Virginia Woolf described George Eliot as one of the few writers 'for grown-up people.' The same might today, and with equal justice, be said of Alice Munro." Michael Gorra, New York Times Book Review
"Alice Munro is indisputably a master. Like all great writers, she helps sharpen perception...Her imagination is fearless...A better book of stories can scarcely be imagined." Greg Varner, Washington Post Book World
"A riveting collection...a lovely book. Munro's stories move through the years with a sneaky grace." Georgia Jones-Davis, San Francisco Chronicle
"A triumph...certain to seal her reputation as our contemporary Chekhov." Carol Shields, Mirabella
"These astonishing stories remind us, yet again, of the literary miracles Alice Munro continues to perform." Francine Prose, Elle
In perhaps her boldest collection to date, short story master Munro evokes the vagaries of love, the tension and deceit that lie in wait under the polite surfaces of society, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart.
About the Author
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published eleven new collections of stories-Dance of the Happy Shades; Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You; The Beggar Maid; The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; Friend of My Youth; Open Secrets; The Love of a Good Woman; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; Runaway; and a volume of Selected Stories-as well as a novel, Lives of Girls and Women. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the Man Booker International Prize, three of Canada's Governor General's Literary Awards and two of its Giller Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England's W. H. Smith Book Award, the United States' National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Edward MacDowell Medal in literature. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages.Alice Munro divides her time between Clinton, Ontario, near Lake Huron, and Comox, British Columbia.
Table of Contents
The love of a good woman — Jakarta — Cortes Island — Save the reaper — The children stay — Rich as stink — Before the change — My mother's dream.
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