2009 Man Booker International Prize
Synopses & Reviews
In Alice Munro's superb new collection, we find stories about women of all ages and circumstances, their lives made palpable by the subtlety and empathy of this incomparable writer.
The runaway of the title story is a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband. In "Passion," a country girl emerging into the larger world via a job in a resort hotel discovers in a single moment of stunning insight the limits and lies of that mysterious emotion. Three stories are about a woman named Juliet in the first, she escapes from teaching at a girls' school into a wild and irresistible love match; in the second she returns with her child to the home of her parents, whose life and marriage she finally begins to examine; and in the last, her child, caught, she mistakenly thinks, in the grip of a religious cult, vanishes into an unexplained and profound silence. In the final story, "Powers," a young woman with the ability to read the future sets off a chain of events that involves her husband-to-be and a friend in a lifelong pursuit of what such a gift really means, and who really has it.
Throughout this compelling collection, Alice Munro's understanding of the people about whom she writes makes them as vivid as our own neighbors. Here are the infinite betrayals and surprises of love between men and women, between friends, between parents and children that are the stuff of all our lives. It is Alice Munro's special gift to make these stories as vivid and real as our own.
"Her work felt revolutionary when I came to it, and it still does." Jhumpa Lahiri
"As with so many of Munro’s stories, you read to have your premises altered and deepened. Could anything be better?...A beautiful new work." Los Angeles Times
"Runaway is a big dish of Beluga caviar, sailing in on a sparkling bed of ice, with a mother-of-pearl spoon. You remember: This is why you eat, read, make love, whatever–to be left silly with admiration and delight." The Washington Post
"Runaway may very well be the synthesizing work of one of literature’s keenest investigators into the human soul." USA Today
"Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America. Runaway is a marvel." Jonathan Franzen, The New York Times Book Review
About the Author
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published thirteen collections of stories as well as a novel, Lives of Girls and Women, and two volumes of Selected Stories. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including 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 National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Man Booker International Prize. In 2013 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her story "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" was filmed by Sarah Polley as Away from Her, and "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage" as Hateship Loveship. She lives in Port Hope, Canada, on Lake Ontario.