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Selected Stories

4.32 of 5 stars 4.32  ·  rating details  ·  4,523 ratings  ·  227 reviews
"Too many things," a creative writing instructor tells the narrator of "Differently." "Too many things going on at the same time; also too many people. Think, he told her. What is the important thing? What do you want us to pay attention to? Think." What does Alice Munro want us to pay attention to in her Selected Stories? Everything, really, and so her narratives loop bac ...more
Paperback, 412 pages
Published 2010 by Vertigo UK (first published 1994)
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The complexity of things - the things within things - just seems to be endless. I mean nothing is easy, nothing is simple.

From short accounts of singular events to the sprawling history of a life or love affair, Alice Munro shows it is the little things that matter most. These ‘things within things’ - the greater truth in the smallest of details, are the hearts and souls of her fiction. Selected Stories is an excellent best-of introduction to the author as it collects 28 stories from three dec
Before reading this collection, I'd read one or two of Munro's stories in the New Yorker -- "Deep-Holes" was good enough to tear out & keep -- but I really didn't know what she was up to in general. This collection of short stories will let the reader feel thoroughly familiar with, though never bored by, Munro's style. There are certain things she almost always does (once past her earliest works): begin with a story that isn't the real story and doesn't even really illuminate the real story ...more
Aug 03, 2007 Kaisa rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
Alice Munro writes entirely in the medium of short stories. While I don't mind the trend of ever elongating fiction in modern literature, this collection of Munro's selected shorts is nothing short of a thrill of economy.

Munro's stories are brief, but the impressions her characters and the events to which they are sewed leave with the reader are long lasting. In White Dump, Munro gives us two characters, one a mother, the other her daughter, who move forward and back towards an event that does
She's just a genius. This book came out a decade ago, and doesn't have some of her more recent stuff -- like the wonderful Runaway -- but it's just amazing story after amazing story. The stories have some of the surfaces of quieter, plainer fiction about rural, domestic life, but they're packed with insight and dramatic moment, and Munro is more experimental than she's given credit for -- her leaps in time are jarring and amazing. Especially in the stories that are connected by character and pla ...more
This was our latest book club pick, and it was selected because many in the literary community think that Alice Munro should win the Pulitzer Prize; it’s reputed that the only reason she hasn’t is that no author who exclusively writes short stories has ever won (oh, literary politics).

Munro’s writing style is clean, even sparse at times, but she has an ability to pack a mean emotional punch. I’ve heard it said that her stories illuminate the extraordinary in the ordinary lives of people, and it
Helen (Helena/Nell)
Alice Munro is one of the best contemporary short story writers. I know this because everybody says so. Some of them say she is the best.

I love short stories but although I have read Munro before, I have never quite clicked with any of hers. And I love that ‘click’ that comes with the short story, that feeling as you get to the end that you intend to go right back to the beginning again, and that this will be a great pleasure, and that you will do it again and again and again.

I’ve been reading t
Dave Comerford
I bet Alice Munro is responsible for a lot of really bad writing. These stories involve ordinary people living in unremarkable towns and cities (Toronto; small prairie towns) doing pretty humdrum things - many of these stories recount visits to old friends or family. The language is so natural and the scenes so well drawn that the text requires no effort to read. It is tempting to believe then that they took no effort or particular talent, or even much a subject matter, to write.

What I am left
the gift
i have read everything published by this author, so impressed she has won deserved Nobel. rather than go through each book i decide to just note those i really like in this selection, then maybe the collections since. you cannot go wrong with any selection. you also will never feel like you have wasted reading time, as she is always concise, always readable, always resonant...

theory on reading alice munro: if each collection has thirteen stories, three or four will be good, six or seven very goo
This is totally random, but when we were in Victoria, BC, I walked into this giant, wonderful bookstore called Munro's Books. I bought a few things there, and the cashier gave me some free store bookmarks. Well, I pulled one out the other day to stick in this book, and then read in the author bio that Alice Munro is in fact the owner of Munro's Books! Go figure.

The stories I have read so far are WONDERFUL. Thanks for the rec, Paula!
Unfortunately, this wonderful writer is not for me. Her stories are so dismal. I've tried to read Ms. Munro's work many times and I always end up abandoning it. OK, let me be perfectly blunt: For me, this woman's writing can ruin a perfectly good day. Her writing is magnificent; her subject matter plunges me down a dingy well.
I was intrigued by the blurbs on the back of this edition--had heard a lot about her but never read anything, seeing as most of her work has been published in anthologies and magazines. I'm not one for short stories or short fiction, but the narrative voices here are truly distinct. In her stories about her native Canada, Munro delivers with a consistent, pragmatic and low-key narration that draws one in with details and insights not with the "unerhoerte Begebenheit" or "seminal moment" introduc ...more
Kate Campbell
Somewhere I read about a patient in a hospital, a wounded British soldier, who waited each day for a specific nurse to appear in hope she’d be the one to make afternoon tea. He loved her first because she did not burn the water and served tea that was always perfect. That’s how I feel about Alice Munro’s Selected Stories, all perfect.

OK, maybe not all perfect, but very close. “White Dump” strikes me as a long slog to not much, perhaps the point of the story and I’m too dense to get it. "The Alba
OMG, I am so happy I'm finally done with book. Apparently I am not a fan of short stories. I don't like how by the time you have gotten to know a character the story is over. And when these short stories end, they just end. There's never much of an ending. I just don't get the appeal.
Patrick Faller
This selection collects four stories apiece from Munro's first seven collections, from Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You through Open Secrets. Perhaps its most interesting feature is an Author's Forward, essentially a craft essay in which Munro discusses the images that give rise to her stories, the process by which she develops her layered narratives, and the roles various editors have played in her later, more daring work. In dicussing the evolution of her craft, Munro notes that as she' ...more
Munro does a really fantastic job of creating very three-dimensional characters. She's able to compress an entire novel's worth of story-telling into 30 or so pages. My only problem with this collection is that in reading the stories one after another, the characters being to appear quite similar to one another. Middle-aged, divorced female reflecting seems to be the common ground. Of course, I believe these stories came in Munro's own middle age, and it reflects that. Still, she does an excelle ...more
Julius Mendoza
There couldnt be a better book if you talk about short stories than this! This is the best of the stories of the best short story writer now alive! ALICE MUNRO! When would she win the NOBEL PRIZE? I should go on that she is severely understated! Why? Perhaps the readers could not get her writing because she writes about the same theme: a girl from a rural Canadian town growing up to discover her sexuality, find her place in the socitey, exploring love and hatred and at times rebelling from the n ...more
Alice Munro is my favorite favorite favorite, and this book contains some of her very best stories. "Differently" starts out like this:
“Georgia once took a creative writing class, and what the instructor told her was: Too many things. Too many things going on at the same time; also too many people. Think, he told her. What is the important thing? What do you want us to pay attention to? Think. Eventually she wrote a story that was about her grandfather killing chickens, and the instructor seeme
I love this book.

Munro is a genius. The stories are beautifully written and constantly shift in unexpected directions. She does fascinating things with time and the narrators' voices but you barely notice any of the technical work because the stories are so engrossing. The stories span 30 years of Munro's career but there are some common links between them. Certain themes pop up again and again. They all take place in the Canadian countryside and all of the characters have secrets, some of which
Brian Grover
This is a huge collection of stories, and they're a bit dry, so I'll admit that it felt more like an assignment than a pleasant decision to crack this book. And I'll also admit that it took me a while to warm up to Munro's style, which is pretty spare - some of these really drag. Having said that, I did warm up to it, and enjoyed the collection more and more as I progressed through it.

Lots of independent, middle-aged Canadian women on display here, most of whom are divorced (several because of m
When I first picked up this book I was under the mistaken impression that it was actually very boring. This impression I got from a glimpse at a few of the stories. On the outset they look boring and you don't know why you should care about the characters. You have to read it carefully and in my case a few times over to really make full sense of the beauty of each of these stories. Each story has very well-fleshed, carefully wrought characters, each molded into an individual identity influenced ...more
The stories in this book were written over a period of about 30 years. Almost all of them are set in Ms. Munro's native Canada, and mostly concern the lives of ordinary people. I haven't spent much time in Canada, but it seems to me that Ms. Munro has an uncanny facility to present the lives, psyches, and living environments of her characters. They are somewhat like Americans, but....well, they're not. Even to an alien like me, they're clearly Canadian.
To me, though, Ms. Munro's greatest stre
Read her story "Walker Brothers Cowboy" in Literature and Its Writers: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama and really liked it. Then I saw a great review by spenkevich that pushed me to get a copy. So far I have enjoyed the stories I read here as well.
I am only halfway through this selection of Munro's stories, but I am truly amazed at her talents. She is one of the finest short story writers I have read. My reaction may be tempered with time, but at this point she seems stellar.
Several stories into this collection I realized that my favorite women authors seem to switch effortless between the perspectives of men and women. But Alice Munro is very different. Her stories are strongly anchored in the perspective and experience of women. She writes as an advocate for women, but a savvy one. The depth of her characters and rather mundane nature of the stories make them read as chronicles rather than activist literature. But the messages are there, perhaps made less obvious ...more
Het lukt me niet het lukt me niet het lukt me niet.
Ik zou zo graag willen, maar ze willen me maar niet pakken, de verhalen van Munro.
Zo jammer....
Miriam Downey
Read my full review here: http://mimi-cyberlibrarian.blogspot.c...

A reader could pick up any of the many collections of Alice Munro's stories and become immediately engrossed in the world of small town people of Ontario, including many children who observe with keen eyes the vagaries of life. Each story reads like a snapshot. I envisioned an itinerant photographer coming to town and snapping pictures of the people going about their business. Then Munro looked at the pictures of those people and
This is my first Alice Munro book and I'm convinced it won't be the last.
Munro's leading characters are always women and they are always teachers/writers/bookstore owners/librarians - that may be another reason why I became so fond of her writing:) In (almost) every story the leading lady goes down the memory lane and recalling something from her past, something that's following her, something that caused her to live like she lives. Very often it's somehting to do about the relationships with on
It's amazing how much complexity Munro can pack into a few pages. She's extraordinarily inventive at finding ways of presenting stories from multiple perspectives, at putting stories within stories. And perhaps this helps make them so powerfully resonant.
Joseph Sverker
I must first of all give credit to the person who compiled these stories. The selection is brilliant and it gives a remarkable overview of Munro's writing. One can really sense a common thread in many of the short stories (and maybe that was the reason for why they were brought together in one volume). But most of all, one has to give credit to the incredible writing of Alice Munro. I can help but love every single thing she writes (and that I have read, which is not so very much). Munro capture ...more
Jen Knox
This is a phenomenal collection. Read it, read it, read it!
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Alice Ann Munro, née Laidlaw, is a Canadian short-story writer who is widely considered one of the world's premier fiction writers. Munro is a three-time winner of Canada's Governor General's Award for fiction. Her stories focus on human relationships looked at through the lens of daily life. She has thus been referred to as "the Canadian Chekhov."

She is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Liter
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“A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.” 174 likes
“I loved taking off. In my own house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide - sometimes from the children but more often from the jobs to be done and the phone ringing and the sociability of the neighborhood. I wanted to hide so that I could get busy at my real work, which was a sort of wooing of distant parts of myself.” 22 likes
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