The Progress of Love
Alice Munro
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The Progress of Love

4.19 of 5 stars 4.19  ·  rating details  ·  1,320 ratings  ·  82 reviews
Alice Munro, who received the National Book Critics Circle Award for her latest collection of stories, The Love of a Good Woman, is widely acknowledged as a modern master of the short story. In this earlier collection, she demonstrates all of those strengths that have won her so many literary accolades.

A divorced woman returns to her childhood home where she confronts the

Paperback, 320 pages
Published September 1st 1987 by Penguin Books (first published 1986)
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Come with me, my love...

I’m an observer by nature. I guess you can say I like to watch. Birds. Bugs. Animals. Humans. The weather. I can sit in front of my bay window for hours watching a spider spin a web, a thunderstorm rolling in, a swarm of bees sipping nectar from my rhododendrons…

Alice Munro must be an observer by nature too, because her stories reveal her fascination with everyday life and everyday people. This particular collection focuses on rela...more
K.D. Absolutely
Feb 12, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books
Shelves: 501, anthology
My first book by Alice Munro (born 1931) and oh my, she kicks ass!

What is it with female Canadian writers? I normally think twice before picking up any book by a female writer. This is not a sexist remark but most of them I tried hard to like them but they fell short of my expectations. Virginia Woolf will always be my favorite along with Dame Iris Murdoch. Then, I also enjoyed Surfacing by Margaret Atwood and Unless by Carol Shields. They are the first two female Canadian writers who both joine...more
I sometimes like to think of Alice Munro as a painter. In drawing her just so, I can consider that she must furnish the place she has made for her daily hours of work with these finely delineated and peculiarly detailed portraits of people who have never existed whole, but whom we have all met in part: people whose clothes and expressions we have worn, whose lives we have lived in, and into whose poses our own movement pours content.

Still, portraits are not her characteristic medium. Other than...more
Preso per mano e portato in mezzo a vite ordinarie di gente qualsiasi, ma scoprendo angoli nascosti e intimi, e così illuminando molto di me, delle mie scelte e esperienze di vita, d'amore. Rapito dall’eleganza e dall’attenzione che Munro sparge.

Si tratta di racconti, e io e i racconti andiamo molto d’accordo: con questi della Munro, la prossimità diventa addirittura saldatura.
Non racconta gente speciale Alice Munro, non mette al centro delle sue narrazioni personaggi con sens...more
Onze contos narrados com a profundidade de um romance, ao nível do conhecimento das personagens, onde é dada primazia ao seu interior, desvalorizando o exterior.
Historias reveladoras do intimo e anseios mais profundos da alma humana.
Na sua maior parte são as mulheres as protagonistas principais e as "vítimas" do Progresso do Amor; do encantamento no seu início, do desespero no seu fim e do seu poder transformador.
"Liberta-me. Liberta-me. Devolve-me o juízo. Por favor, depressa. Por favor."
Sai quando entri in una stanza linda e profumata, perfetta, rassicurante, poi ti casca una cosa che rotola sotto il letto e scopri che c'è un sacco di polvere che ristagna, e sei allergica agli acari...tutto si tramuta in altro...

Questa donna è un genio!
Of the three collections I've read by Munro, I'd say this is arguably the weakest (the other two being Runaway and Open Secrets), but by any other standard, these are still utterly breathtaking stories. I suppose my two critiques would be that (a) this feels like cohesive as a collection in that each story seems only tangentially to tie back to a grander thematic thread; and (b) that there are two or three somewhat unmemorable stories. "Eskimo" and "Circle of Prayer" come to mind. Or rather, don...more
Questa raccolta di racconti brevi va letta con attenzione per i dettagli, perché sono proprio questi i veri protagonisti.
Il primo impatto,devo ammetterlo,non è stato dei migliori: i racconti sembravano lasciare l'azione in sospeso,senza conclusione. Poi mi sono resa che i racconti di Alice Munro non sono "drammatici" nel senso etimologico del termine; i protagonisti sono grovigli di emozioni, sentimenti che si avvicendano nelle vite dei personaggi.
Alice Munro rappresenta quello che si cela dietr...more
Persephone Abbott
A reviewer remarked that it took more time to read these short stories than it did generally to read a novel. I can understand this statement because the stories are quite compact, really a very delightful trait, and do require some attention to the details to fully enter into the narrative. I deeply admire the choices of names and places that immediately made me believe the setting of the stories. The use of timelines is excellently manipulated yet graceful. The stories are of love; of simply w...more
Very subjective reactions here. This book gave me a new appreciation for Munro. I'm now going to go and reread all the books of hers I've already finished, and get through the ones I haven't read yet. Wonderful stories! I love the glancing incidental bits and how they contribute to the overall structure of each story, or of the collection as a whole. They're so gracefully constructed that I'd have to sit around much longer to ponder the construction in order to explain just what I like about the...more
Julieann Wielga
Alice Munro is stellar. I read these stories selfishly. I read them as what it means to be a woman passing through from childhood, to motherhood, to the stages beyond. When I talk with my friends about Munro, many have said that her stories are marked by instances of the bizarre, almost invoking Raymond Carver or Flannery O'Connor. But for me those moments of the terrible is not what precipitated from the story,instead what crystalized for me was the passages from one part of lives to the next....more
Dec 27, 2007 Vicki rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: lovers of good craft
I don't know how she does it. But she does, time after time. Alice Munro is so damn good at making up these beautiful understated worlds. When you look under the surface, nothing about them is ordinary at all. Hundreds of beautiful stories in her arsenal, and she's still going. She's my hero, pretty much.

But enough of that. I love this collection above many of her collections because there's something subtle linking these stories. They're mostly about middle-aged women, whose plans have been sha...more
Completely subjective rating. The second half of this collection, after the excellent "Jesse and Meribeth," failed to resonate with me. I will never be one to argue with Alice Munro's mastery of the short story, but occasionally I get bored of somber elegance. This was just one of those times.

My favorite story in the collection is probably "Lichen" (and the most interestingly bizarre thing in the collection is the reason that particular story is named as it is).
Thing Two
To call these short stories is to miss the point. These stories require the reader to concentrate, to pay attention to the who's and what's and to be patient. The stories are often confusing - entering in the middle - and take a bit to decipher, but if you're patient, you'll be rewarded.

I love Alice Munro. This many not be my favorite collection, but if it was the first I'd ever read of hers, I'd come away knowing this: I love Alice Munro.
This collection made it apparent to me why Alice Munro is one of the most acclaimed short story writers out there. Every story had a clear arc and reverberating themes. Standouts were the title story, "The Moon in the Orange Street Skating Rink" and "White Dump."
An upscale steakhouse chain, like Morton's or Capital Grille, will consistently serve you a perfectly cooked steak. That's why you shell out the money to go to a place like that, after all. And consistently cooking a steak perfectly is no mean feat- there are many places, even more expensive and ostensibly better restaurants, that fail to do that. At the end of the day, though, even when it's perfectly cooked, what you're getting is a by-the-numbers steak dinner, that doesn't take any risks or t...more
Proof of my ignorance: after the Nobels were announced, I purchased this ebook to have lying around on my tablet, for those moments when I have a bit of time to kill but not enough to dig into a novel. I read the first story ("The Progress of Love") in one sitting and loved it, but for several months afterward, the collection sort of languished on my e-bookshelf. Turns out that this is NOT a collection of short stories that works well to read in fits and starts, at least not for me (I'm a slow r...more
It was strange how my appreciation of this collection changed as I moved through it. Dull and domestic, was my initial reaction to the title story, and the second ‘Lichen’ seemed no better. I found it difficult to relate to the experiences that were being explored here. ‘Miles City, Montana’ was better, I felt that I’d got it, these stories are about women, women and family, women who are ill-used either by accident or by design, new world women who art sometimes beset by old world prejudices....more
Take the multigenerational ambition of Garcia Márquez, add Tostoy's keen understanding of death and human nature, sprinkle in Chekhov's exquisite particulars, pare it down to a few thousand perfectly-chosen words, and set it in small-town Canada, and you'll have an Alice Munro short story. This quietly impressive collection is as technically flawless as it is exquisitely characterized, and Munro allows ideas and questions to resonate across time and story space. It's an awesome thing to behold....more
excerpt - "As for me, I was happy because of the shedding. I loved taking off. In my own house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide - sometimes from the chidren 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. I lived in a state of siege always losing just what I wanted to hold on to. But on trips there was difficulty...more
Jean-paul Audouy
Ends with this quote from "The Poetic Edda" 'Seinat er at segia; svá er nu rádit' (It is too late to talk of this now: it has all been decided).
Precise intense stories on how to try to escape fate (but most often fail). All taking place in various part of Ontario from the countryside near Ottawa to the shore of Lake Huron, from the first decades of the twentieth century to more recent times when a same sex couple is evoked (A Queer Streak). If you still have the illusion that eternal love exists...more
I am not a lover of short stories. Read this book for my classics group. Have to admire how each story feels fresh and new but I always feel like I am missing something when I read Alice Munro's stories.The two stories I really enjoyed were "A Queer Streak" and "White Dump". I am sure I will read more of her books though just to see if short stories grow on me.
I guess Alice Munro is a good writer. I'll probably read something else by her but in a more distant future.
I struggled with this book. Everything seemed to be right, yet every time I was picking it up, I was wincing. I was wading through it, I was procrastinating, I was looking for excuses to drop it. I wanted it to end.
I found it depressive although I have read far sadder books but their tone of sadness was understandable whereas this one was not. It was not that kind of suffering that leads t...more
I thought that I would be bowled over by this award winning author. I think I need to read more of her work, but I was not a fan of the short story before I read her work and I still am not. I don't feel that you can get your hooks into something. It is true that in the space of about 30 pages she can span great lengths of time and she is able to make you care about the characters. Her settings are very well developed and one has a vivid picture of the times. Her subjects seemed to be about the...more
David Cheshire
After reading a gushing review in Prospect of Canadian Alice Munro which rated her as one the greatest short story writers I chanced on this collection, and am now a convert. I had previously read Raymond Carver whose spare and stark sketchings of characters and situations I loved. Alice Munro's stories are less spare, more humane, and somehow both more normal yet also stranger. The Prospect review discussed the relationship of a writer to truthfulness, autobiography and story telling. These sto...more
Maryann Fanning
It's not a book I would usually have picked out, but I enjoyed it. The real strength of the book was the descriptions - I felt transported and enjoyed watching the story unfold. It definitely had strengths and weaknesses, there were some stories that could not hold my interest (e.g. The moon in the orange skating rink), but others I could not stop reading as they unfolded (e.g. The progress of love).

I don't know if I would read again, but I would recommend people read the book.
Noel Charchuk
Another collection of great stories. Munro captures the human condition so well, and portrays the strengths, weaknesses and foibles of mankind so well.
I was hesitant about picking up a book of short stories. I had found that I really just got into them and they were over. This book was terrific, and changed my opinion of short stories altogether. These stories carried me along to very satisfying conclusions. I was drawn in to the vivid descriptions and the very rounded characters, and enjoyed the progression of the narratives. Munro can definitely create an environment populated with interesting characters living their lives one decision at a...more
These were tough stories to read, but I liked them more as I read more of them. I was also fascinated by the way Munro tells her stories; we don't quite know what the story is about until we get to the end of it.
Adam Hegg
Short stories. This takes an entirely different kind of focus than a longer narrative. I need more practice with them because I really feel these would made a huge impact on me if in the right frame of mind.
As it is they hit me very well.
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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...more
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“This is the way you look at the poorest details of the world resurfaced, after you've been driving for a long time -- you feel their singleness and precise location and the forlorn coincidence of you being there to see them.” 12 likes
“He seemed happy. She thought that she seldom concerned herself about Laurence’s being happy. She wanted him to be in a good mood, so that everything would go smoothly, but that was not the same thing.” 3 likes
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