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Too Much Happiness

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  11,473 ratings  ·  1,601 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 i
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published November 17th 2009 by Knopf (first published 2009)
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Martin London, Ontario! Nothing to do with the UK! Luckily enough "the writer doesn't manage the transition from Canadian to UK English". Such a transition…moreLondon, Ontario! Nothing to do with the UK! Luckily enough "the writer doesn't manage the transition from Canadian to UK English". Such a transition would be a total non-sense.(less)

Community Reviews

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Rakhi Dalal
Nov 29, 2012 Rakhi Dalal rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Rakhi by: s.penkevich
Shelves: favorites
“We live in time - it holds us and molds us - but I never felt I understood it very well. And I'm not referring to theories about how it bends and doubles back, or may exist elsewhere in parallel versions. No, I mean ordinary, everyday time, which clocks and watches assure us passes regularly: tick-tock, click-clock. Is there anything more plausible than a second hand? And yet it takes only the smallest pleasure or pain to teach us time's malleability. Some emotions speed it up, others slow it d ...more
is there another living writer of fiction who, while reading, produces as many of these: 'yes! exactly! a tiny but revelatory detail i've never considered in such a light... and never so precisely expressed!' -- no. there isn't. alice munro is chimney-smoke smell and end-of-day melancholy. the goal is to read everything she's written.
Suprema semplicità

”Io sono diventata adulta, poi vecchia.”
Così Alice Munro compendia una intera vita; ed è con frasi come questa, abbaglianti nella loro spietata ovvietà, che questa straordinaria narratrice accende, conclude, risolve e sconvolge le sue storie.
Nei racconti inclusi in questa bellissima raccolta si avverte chiaramente l'impronta dell'età: il tempo, trascorso così veloce e implacabile, sembra ammantare i ricordi di un velo di nostalgia, anche quando si tratti di ricordi tristi; e
Five of these stories I'd read before (online at the New Yorker) and it was a pleasure to read them again, even to note a few subtle changes that had been made, in particular, with the one I think is my favorite ("Face"). This pleasure in reading Munro, I think, comes not from her characters or her plots, though she obviously is very talented in those facets, but from the themes of the stories, some of which need to be teased out. I especially felt this way with a story ("Wood") that I didn't ev ...more
Mar 05, 2014 Alex rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2013
Alice Munro writes stories like guts: miles of story, packed into this tiny little space. You get into it and it explodes and there's, like, story everywhere.

They make you wonder why people write novels. It's not so much that they have more to say, it's that they take so much longer to say it than Munro does. She makes everyone else look like they're doodling.

Dimensions: A woman whose husband no longer lives with her learns to maybe move on a bit. Well done for what it is, but didn't make a hug
Dec 30, 2013 Fewlas rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Fewlas by: Leka
Shelves: donne, racconti
Vorrei in questo commento descrivere alcune delle sensazioni che ho provato leggendo questo libro, sperando in questo modo di far evincere almeno una piccola parte dell’universo della Munro. Ci sono tantissime recensioni su goodreads e in altri siti che riescono a spiegare con parole esatte e formali l’essenza della scrittura della Munro. Ci ho provato a scrivere qualcosa di “serio”, ma davvero non mi è riuscito.
Vorrei dunque dire di come la Munro sia riuscita a liberarmi dalla mia idea fissa di
"Every one of us will be forgotten, Sophia thought but did not say, because of the tender sensibilities of men - particularly of a young man - on this point."

This quote is not only my favourite quote of the book, it summarizes some of Munro's writing qualities quite nicely. She is sometimes very witty and almost always cynical, perhaps slightly bitter and an acute observer. Four very fine qualities in a writer, yet for me there is something missing in most of the stories. Something of a more for
There should be a separate category for Munro: make those five stars doubles. She takes you into her house of fiction, opening doors onto pain and horror, onto hope and happiness (too much), onto searing truth and ravaging emotion, and then stops, leaving you blinking in the sunlight, with the feeling that one layer of protective skin has been removed. I feel that there is a connecting theme: the power of story-telling and literature. Stories to save life in Free Radicals, to rescue and calm in ...more
Something about these stories makes my skin creep. There is a feeling of total emptiness, as if I am watching people's lives unfold in front the plexiglass of a zoo enclosure. Munro is a talented writer, but there is nothing showy in her style. I felt no connection with the characters, the time and place are not developed in great detail. All you are left with the uncomfortable situations she picks as her material: unfinished lives, death, misunderstanding, lies. I'll come back to Munro the next ...more

From Daily Lit:

In "Fiction," by bestselling author Alice Munro, a narrator lovingly describes the life and home she's built with her husband—and then describes how that life crumbles before her eyes. The rest of the story has our narrator in a different place in her life, reconciling with her past in a way she might never have expected.

Sometimes, I do not understand how criteria are used to assign a Nobel prize for literature.

I was a bit disappointed with this book (but this might be just because there were other books by Munro which I appreciated more). There were however some stories that I liked (I liked "Fiction" the most), but I only managed to scribble a few words about the first story while reading it. So here it is:

Dimensions *****

How can a mother cope with the death of her children? Doree cannot help but blame her pernicious husband, the person who has murdered them in a moment of insanity, but she is also d
Great expectations...but alas. I have to agree with this review:

"This was easy to read and the stories and characters were easy to become. I just felt like, why? Why did she have these situations happen to her characters and why did she bother to write about them? It's not like I demand a lot of action, I just didn't get her choices. Just because you can write beautifully doesn't mean you ought to write beautifully about such things. The situations and the characters didn't seem to mesh for me.
Brava, brava, brava, la Munro, ma proprio tanto. (una delle mie scrittrici preferite, Strout, Oates e Munro la triade delle migliori)
E’ con reverenza che si posa a fine lettura questo libro, con reverenza e gratitudine per le ore di piacevolissima e arricchente lettura.
In questi racconti le donne sono ancora protagoniste, quella annientata dal dolore per l’uccisione dei figli, bambine crudeli con qualcuno di diverso, (Bambinate, il mio preferito), donne abbandonate, tradite che trovano la forza
This is a collection of ten short stories by the Canadian author, Alice Munro. As always, Munro writes beautifully, creating situations of exquisite poignancy, every bit of her work demonstrating not only great sensitivity but consummate craft. Why is it that I often find her stories agonizing to read? Is it because her characters, usually women, seem so fated, so seemingly incapable of breaking out of the lives in which they find themselves, no matter how painful or destructive those lives may ...more
Alice Munro might be the reason I hate short stories. I mean, she’s the best short story writer ever - perfect detail, brilliant dialogue, the amazing ability to move forward and back in time in seamless slips of paragraphs - but with this incredible talent comes (my) the awful realization that the story is only going to be 30 pages long. And that you want it to be 300. Which doesn’t even make sense because short stories have a certain something-something in the punchiness of the plot, the pace ...more
Xuyên suốt cuốn sách, giọng văn của Munro cứ dịu dàng, đằm thắm nhưng lại ẩn chứa sự lạnh lùng, sắc bén đến rợn người. Không biết bao lần tôi lạnh gáy khi đọc những câu văn tưởng chừng nhẹ nhàng, tràn đầy nữ tính của bà.
Bà cứ nhẩn nha lật lại quá khứ của những nhân vật trong các câu chuyện của bà khi tất cả họ đều muốn chối bỏ nó dù không thể nào vượt qua được.
3.5 bumped up to 4

This is my introduction to the works of Alice Munro, and it was a pleasant one. Wikipedia describes her work as "having revolutionized the architecture of short stories, especially in its tendency to move forward and backward in time.[2] Her stories embed more than announce, reveal more than parade."

I think this is an accurate characterization of the stories I read. Interestingly, I didn't especially care for the time shifts, but chalk that up to a personal preference (hence
She read modern fiction too. Always fiction. She hated to hear the word 'escape' used about fiction. She might have argued, not just playfully, that it was real life that was the escape. But this was too important to argue about.

Until last year I had never even heard of Alice Munro before. When she was rewarded with the Nobel Prize, I was a huge question mark, puzzled and confused with no idea of who this woman was. Of course I wanted to read some of her works in order to understand why she wo
I think there should be a law regarding the inverse relationship between books and movies with "happiness" in the title and the actual happiness allowed the characters. Munro acknowledges that in the excellent story "Free Radicals," in which the protagonist is a reader. "She read modern fiction too. Always fiction. She hated to hear the word "escape" used about fiction. She might have argued, notj ust playfully, that it was real life that was the escape. But this was too important to argue about ...more
The title is most ironic. This collection of stories seems more tragic and depressing than happy to me. I looked for some positive joy in each story, but was left with sadness instead. Sadly, I did not enjoy this book and look forward to my book club discussion to hopefully find some redeaming qualities for the book.

Ah, after book club, I was able to discover some notes of optimism. Perhaps Munro was using shocking allegory, such as stripping away clothing represented removal of ones mental barr
I don't know what I missed but I did NOT enjoy this book. It's on the New York Times Best Sellers list and had great reviews. The book is a collection of short stories, but they are all very depressing. I felt so down-in-the-dumps while reading this book. Each story started giving me that pit in my stomach feeling and then turned out even worse. If you're looking for something up-lifting, choose something else.
If the function of fiction is to provide maps for human lives, then Alice Munro's collection, Too Much Happiness, is one of the best works of fiction published in 2009. In these stories, Ms. Munro has created an elegant symbol system that marks the paths women take through the dangerous territory of love and friendship. Most of their problems are caused by men, though there are plenty of scheming and possibly evil women who populate these tales. Ms. Munro is an acute and critical observer of the ...more
Dani Peloquin
Usually, it takes a lot for me to take a chance on short stories. I typically find them to be either too short (and I want a novel-length more) or too long (and I wonder why it bothered being a story at all). However, Munro is a master! She gives the reader just enough to keep you intrigued and unable to put the book down. Yet, each story feels complete and you can walk away from the collection feeling satisified.

I enjoyed this collection a great deal because the stories dealt with some heavy is
Non ho un rapporto particolarmente difficile con i racconti, a differenza di altri: ho sempre detto che in realtà la frammentarietà mi disturba, ma solo nella struttura di una singola storia. Quando si tratta di una raccolta di racconti, l'importante è che io riesca ad entrare nel pieno di quel che sta accadendo, e si sa che il tempo in questo caso è breve: o c'è qualcosa che ti cattura e scatta la scintilla, oppure l'opportunità è persa del tutto.
I racconti di questa raccolta non passano inoss
This is a book that I feel that I should love just to justify the grades I got in college English. Alice Munro truly has a writing gift and her characters are well drawn, but the stories go absolutely no where. You get interested in a character and what is going on and then it. just. ends. What is the point of even telling the story when nothing is going to happen? It left me feeling each time that I was missing hidden nuances that I was just too stupid to discover. I didn't love it - guess I sh ...more
Hace poco terminé ‘Todo arrasado, todo quemado’ de Wells Tower, un libro de relatos que toda la crítica ha puesto por las nubes, y si bien no me disgustó sí que me decepcionó. Estaba muy bien escrito, era un libro formalmente cojonudo, pero el fondo cojeaba un poco; tuve la sensación de que lo que me contaba ya me lo habían contado antes mil veces y los temas eran tan tópicos y poco originales que parecían sacados de un ejercicio estilístico propuesto en una clase de escritura creativa. Es mi et ...more
Ho letto questi racconti a scatola chiusa, perché prima di oggi non sapevo chi fosse la Munro e quale fosse la sua storia.
Leggendo questi racconti mi sono sentita come una bambina che entra in un negozio di caramelle, le sceglie e alla fine le assapora.
Proprio come quella bambina, ho centellinato le parole, le ho dosate e le ho gustate. Il sapore è stato agrodolce, perché sono storie che, a dispetto del titolo, non sono felici, ma violente, a tratti inquietanti.
Le donne della Munro sono donne
Io riesco solo a ricordare agli altri qualcosa su cui nessuno può soffermare il pensiero.

Una felice scoperta casuale . Racconti quasi tutti al femminile in cui emergono ricordi e si affrontano situazioni imprevedibili. Di questa raccolta della Munro non si scarta niente. Alcuni racconti sono davvero dei piccoli gioielli, come “Dimensioni” e “Buche profonde” o “Radicali liberi”, ma anche “Bambinate” e “Troppa felicità” che dà il titolo alla raccolta; altri forse meno pregevoli, ma tutti lasciano
What can I say? I love Alice Munro's work. And finding a whole book of stories that I haven't read previously in the New Yorker was a treat. Well, maybe I'd read one before. These stories are chockful of Munro's interesting characters, followed over a much longer time span than many short stories. And which come to unexpected endings just when you think you've got them figured out. Beautiful writing, but of course that's to be expected with AM. If I had to pick a least favorite in this bunch, it ...more
Allan MacDonell
If families were as good for you as greeting cards make them out to be, Alice Munro would be half a loaf shy of her bread and butter. Not every story in Too Much Happiness puts the screws to the fundamental social group of origin, but the collection stresses damaged and damaging parents, spouses, siblings and other blood relations. Munro seems to suggest that the traumas, and the aftermaths, that matter most are the ones inflicted by our primary human connections. Resilience is a major theme and ...more
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Wenlock Edge - I don't get it. 7 394 Jul 28, 2015 05:00PM  
I've read Munro's own comments about Wenlock Edge. 1 37 Oct 18, 2013 05:14PM  
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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 about Alice Munro...
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“Always remember that when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind... When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.” 225 likes
“In your life there are a few places, or maybe only the one place, where something happened, and then there are all the other places.” 144 likes
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