Synopses & Reviews
Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers — the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.
In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the deep holes in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy's disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky — a late-nineteenth-century Russian emigre and mathematician — on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.
With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.
Too Much Happiness is a compelling, provocative — even daring — collection.
"Munro's latest collection is satisfyingly true to form and demonstrates why she continues to garner laurels (such as this year's Man Booker International Prize). Through carefully crafted situations, Munro breathes arresting life into her characters, their relationships and their traumas. In 'Wenlock Edge,' a college student in London, Ontario, acquires a curious roommate in Nina, who tricks the narrator into a revealing dinner date with Nina's paramour, the significantly older Mr. Purvis. 'Child's Play,' a dark story about children's capacity for cruelty and the longevity of their secrets, introduces two summer camp friends, Marlene and Charlene, who form a pact against the slightly disturbing Verna, whose family used to share Marlene's duplex. The title, and final, story, the collection's longest and most ambitious, takes the reader to 19th-century Europe to meet Sophia Kovalevski, a talented mathematician and novelist who grapples with the politics of the age and the consequences of success. While this story lacks some of the effortlessness found in Munro's finest work, the collection delivers what she's renowned for: poignancy, flesh and blood characters and a style nothing short of elegant." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"10 masterly stories...A remarkable new book." Troy Jollimore, Los Angeles Times
With clarity and ease, Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.
About the Author
Now 78, Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published fourteen previous books — Dance of the Happy Shades
; Lives of Girls and Women
, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You
; Who Do You Think You Are?
; The Moons of Jupiter
; The Progress of Love
; Friend of My Youth
; Open Secrets
; Selected Stories
; The Love of a Good Woman
; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage
; The View from Castle Rock
; and Alice Munro's Best
. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the recent Man Booker International Prize given to her in Dublin for "a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage."
Here at home she has won too many awards to list, including three Governor General's Literary Awards, two Giller Prizes, several Trillium Prizes and a number of Libris Awards. Elsewhere she has won the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England's W. H. Smith Book Award, Italy's Pescara prize, 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, Saturday Night, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages.
Alice Munro divides her time between Clinton, Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia.
Table of Contents
Too Much Happiness
Review A Day
"Munro has spent 41 years escorting us through her rooms, through the fertile house of her imagination — 'Your body ages,' she said in an interview with The (London) Observer
, 'but your mind is the same' — directing us to her windows, pointing out the world view beyond." Ellen Urbani, The Oregonian
(read the entire Oregonian review
"As always, Munro demonstrates an extraordinary ability to inhabit the minds of characters who bear little surface resemblance to her, and she is also far more at ease than most contemporary writers with a wide range of social classes." Brooke Allen, The Barnes and Noble Review (read the entire Barnes and Noble review)