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Too Much Happiness

3.83  ·  Rating Details  ·  12,935 Ratings  ·  1,753 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
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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

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Rakhi Dalal
Nov 29, 2012 Rakhi Dalal rated it it was amazing
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
Glenn Sumi
Jan 02, 2016 Glenn Sumi rated it it was amazing
The title of her latest collection could sum up the feeling Alice Munro's fans get when they encounter her work. Yet is it possible to get too much of a good thing?

Hardly, when you're in the hands of such an inventive writer, one whose carefully crafted, richly suggestive stories burrow their way into the subconscious like actual memories.

Even in her late 70s, this year's Man Booker International Prize winner gets to show off some new tricks. Two of the stories are among the handful she's writte
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brian
Dec 23, 2009 brian rated it really liked it
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.
Ginny_1807
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
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Celia
Dec 03, 2011 Celia rated it it was ok
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
Teresa
Dec 22, 2009 Teresa rated it it was amazing
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
S©aP
Leggo A.Munro e resto strabiliato dalla sua bravura. Dalla suprema capacità di sintesi. Dalla naturalezza di una narrazione studiata per dilettare e insospettire. Dalla maestria con cui si dissimulano, e poi si introducono, inquietudini esplosive (vedi il racconto: Radicali liberi). Dall'arte di tratteggiare le sfumature più segrete con la lingua più fluida (vedi il racconto: Bambinate).
Un plauso aggiuntivo va alla sua traduttrice italiana, la signora Susanna Basso, padrona di una lingua e di un
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Alex
Mar 05, 2014 Alex rated it it was amazing
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
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Solistas
Jun 23, 2016 Solistas rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Στη βιβλιοθήκη του σπιτιού υπάρχουν όλα τα βιβλία της Munro (λόγω της συγκατοίκου που την λατρεύει), αλλά επειδή είμαι λίγο -αδικαιολόγητα- δύστροπος με τις συλλογές διηγημάτων, δεν είχα διαβάσει ούτε μισή ιστορία. Εν ολίγοις, όλο κάτι τέτοιες βλακείες κάνω, γιατί πραγματικά ενθουσιάστηκα με όσα διάβασα εδώ, αφού απ'τα 9 διήγηματα (συν την ομώνυμη νουβέλα) μόνο για 3 θα μπορούσα να πω ότι αδιαφόρησα και δεν μπήκα καν στον κόπο να τις καταλάβω.

Από κει και πέρα όμως, βρήκα ένα σκασμό πανίσχυρες ισ
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Leajk
Jan 03, 2014 Leajk rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
"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
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·Karen·
Aug 31, 2010 ·Karen· rated it it was amazing
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
Laura

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.

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Roger Brunyate
Jun 12, 2016 Roger Brunyate rated it really liked it
Munro on Audio and in Print

I started the collection on audiobook during a road trip, and finished it on paper. Listening to a story is a curious experience: you have no idea how long each it is going to last, and so are held in the total control of the writer. And when that writer has the mastery of Alice Munro, the sensation is both alarming and curiously satisfying. The first story, for instance, "Dimensions," beautifully read by Kimberly Farr, is about an hour long, but it has already taken y
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Deea
May 29, 2015 Deea rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, nobel
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
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Delphine
Dec 08, 2011 Delphine rated it did not like it
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.
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Paola
Jul 29, 2014 Paola rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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Bruce
Mar 02, 2010 Bruce rated it really liked it
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
Erin
Dec 20, 2012 Erin rated it it was amazing
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
Razvan Zamfirescu
În primul rând: nu citiți coperta patru! Efectiv spune ce se întâmplă în câteva povestiri! Nu știu de ce un editor ar lua o astfel de decizie stupidă și idioată mai ales că-și poate atrage nervii cititorilor...

După ce am avut parte de abonimabila scriitură din Hoțul de cărți, povestirile lui Alice Munro au venit precum o binecuvântare. Problema este că, după ce citești porcării, orice carte bine scrisă te face să crezi că ai dat peste o capodoperă, orice propoziție bine construită, logică și, do
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Sarah
Jan 20, 2010 Sarah rated it really liked it
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
Arwen56
Mi è piaciuto moltissimo il racconto “Troppa felicità”, che dà il titolo alla raccolta. Una vita condensata nello spazio di poche pagine, che pure arriva al lettore nella sua interezza e con tutte le sfumature dei sentimenti, le incertezze delle situazioni, le illusioni delle speranze e le gioie degli attimi. Praticamente perfetto.

Ho gradito meno gli altri, che ho trovato un po’ forzati, per certi versi più “sensazionalistici” e, pertanto, meno pregevoli e incisivi.
Huy
Mar 09, 2015 Huy rated it it was amazing
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.
Kathy
Jan 15, 2014 Kathy rated it did not like it
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
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Betsymeyer01
Jan 09, 2010 Betsymeyer01 rated it did not like it
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.
Shaun
Feb 12, 2014 Shaun rated it really liked it
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
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Rikke
Nov 29, 2014 Rikke rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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Shayantani Das
May 26, 2016 Shayantani Das rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Painful, poignant and simply brilliant.
The goal is to read all that Munro has written.
Cdrueallen
Jan 08, 2010 Cdrueallen rated it really liked it
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
May 11, 2012 Dani Peloquin rated it really liked it
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
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Anastasia
Sep 14, 2014 Anastasia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: with-lucrezia, 0-2013
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
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Wenlock Edge - I don't get it. 7 486 Jul 29, 2015 08:00AM  
I've read Munro's own comments about Wenlock Edge. 1 43 Oct 19, 2013 08:14AM  
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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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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.” 248 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.” 152 likes
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