Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Selected Stories” as Want to Read:
Selected Stories
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Selected Stories

4.3  ·  Rating Details ·  5,334 Ratings  ·  280 Reviews
This generous selection of stories drawn from Alice Munro's seven collections - the work of almost thirty years - is a literary event of the highest order, one that confirms Munro's place in the very front ranks of today's writers of fiction. From the first story, about two children making sales calls with their father during the Depression and turning off the road they're ...more
Hardcover, 545 pages
Published October 20th 1998 by Knopf (first published 1994)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Sep 24, 2011 s.penkevich rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 07, 2009 Dia rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sep 23, 2008 Shawn rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Dave Comerford
Mar 29, 2012 Dave Comerford rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 03, 2007 Kaisa rated it it was amazing  ·  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
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
Jun 30, 2010 Kristen rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
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
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
Apr 08, 2008 Jenni rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: shortstories
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!
Dec 09, 2013 Shelley rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: the common reader
Recommended to Shelley by: Margaret
My first Munro. I learned that you have to slow down--really, really slow down--and let yourself be carried along in the cadence of each sentence. Sentences are fragments. Paragraphs are fragments. Her whole stories can be fragments placed together, artfully and artlessly. The effects are dazzling.

I have to say I do not enjoy the later pieces as much (the exception being "The Wilderness Station"). They are noticeably more ambitious and complex, but some parts just seem ill-fit together, contrive
Feb 17, 2012 Sylvie rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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.
André Carreira
It goes without saying that Munro is an amazing writer. From this collection, three tales stood out: "The Dance of The Happy Shades", "Labor Day Dinner" and "Meneseteung". If I were to rate her stories individually, these three would get the highest possible rating (and the second one would surpass it).
Her short stories tend to focus on the lives of everyday men and women and expose life for what it is, in the context of its everydayness turned farce; it is the breaking point, the shock, the sen
Sep 29, 2012 Sal rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Dec 04, 2008 Kam rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jun 13, 2015 Gail rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
I have read about halfway through this book and am going to have to set it aside. I can appreciate the literary quality of Alice Munro's writing, but I don't enjoy her stories. It's not that I have to enjoy everything I read, but I haven't cared about or identified with a single character very much. None of them are very memorable.These stories are dreary and devoid of any joy, humor, hope or beauty. Every romance and marriage fails. There's a lot of cynicism here. I can see why Munro's stories ...more
Feb 20, 2008 Brittany rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-japan
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.
Apr 29, 2017 Miles rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Having now read more than 1,000 pages of Alice’s Munro’s prose, it is clear to me that she is a once-in-a-generation kind of talent. This woman appears to produce beautiful phrases with the readiness and ease with which average humans produce carbon dioxide. Her fictional examinations of the human condition are simultaneously plainspoken and impenetrable; each seems infused with a secret that only Munro can clearly see, but that the reader may glimpse fleetingly in a moment of hard concentration ...more
Vinod Kaul
Jul 02, 2014 Vinod Kaul rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My first attraction to read Alice Munro was the Nobel Prize conferred on her last year. She is not so well known in India and her books were not easy to get or so very expensive. However, the award did the trick and I was able to grab this collection of short stories at a discount from the India Book Fair at Pragati Maindan, New Delhi.

So what's so special about the writings of Alice Munro that she has won both a Man Booker and the Nobel?

To read Alice Munro is to jump into an ocean and be immerse
Kate Campbell
Apr 25, 2014 Kate Campbell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Patrick Faller
Apr 08, 2011 Patrick Faller rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Simona GB
May 21, 2016 Simona GB rated it liked it
Shelves: 07-us-american
28 of Alice Munro's best short stories written between 1961 and 1994. Most of them depict glances of everyday life. The standpoint is often that of a fragile, lonely, yet self-reliant woman, at different ages and moods. The subtleties and depth of thought reveal a lifetime dedicated to experiencing, observing and interpreting human endeavors. The aftertaste is mostly nostalgic and full of mild regret.

Though for sure a fine selection, I find the range of the stories very broad, varying from some
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
Jun 15, 2009 Rochelle rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Rick K.
Mar 05, 2015 Rick K. rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: contemporary, 2015
I didn't really want to like this. The author focuses on darkness, adultery, dirty minds and pettiness. One is reminded of Sherlock Holmes, where he talks about the capacity to conceal unwholesomeness in the countryside. In some senses, the author revels in the Schadenfreude of looking at a car wreck, where her characters make poor decisions 'because they have to for themselves' and then we see their broken lives moving forward.

All that said, the problem I had with my inclination to dislike Mun
May 03, 2008 Sierra rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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.
These are some of Munro's earliest pieces, many set early in the last century. Can't fault the writing here, but the small domestic tableaux that were the vast majority of these stories just wasn't my cuppa. Too mundane, for my taste.
Feb 27, 2016 Vicki rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I didn't finish this book, but I read enough of the stories (10) to get an idea for what Alice Munro is about. Beautiful, sad, melancholy, skilled writing about ordinary lives. Extremely clear and talented, but so resonantly sad and sometimes helpless that I couldn't read any more than the ten stories.
Kwan Ann
Not a spectacularly impressive collection of short stories. Atmospheric, certainly, and quirky in the way that only modern short stories can be. However, I felt like it was missing some kind of spark, and I didn't enjoy many of the stories, unfortunately. Perhaps I'll read it again one day without the crushing pressure of exams over my shoulders.
Nancy Halloran
Nov 11, 2008 Nancy Halloran rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I have been reading these short stories for over a year, with books on children (since I'm a new grandmother) in between. I will probably continue to read these stories and others by this author until I've read all I can get my hands on since she is one of the most incredible authors I've ever read.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Stories in an Almost Classical Mode
  • The Collected Stories
  • The Collected Stories
  • The Stories (So Far)
  • The Collected Stories of Katherine Mansfield
  • Escapes
  • The Wonders Of The Invisible World
  • Believers: A novella and stories
  • Goodbye, Columbus and Five Short Stories / Letting Go
  • I Sailed with Magellan
  • The Collected Stories
  • Selected Stories
  • The Early Stories
  • Doting
  • Searches and Seizures
  • Paris Stories
  • Selected Poems
  • Collected Stories and Later Writings
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
More about Alice Munro...

Share This Book

“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.” 207 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.” 25 likes
More quotes…