Joselito Honestly and Brilliantly's Reviews > The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose

The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro
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Feb 26, 2011

really liked it
Read in February, 2011

Sometimes I watch singing contests (like the American Idol) on tv and see good singers lose because they would commit the unfortunate mistake of choosing the wrong songs to sing. I cannot say here that Alice Munro chose the wrong plot, or that the story does not suit her. I do not know what would have suited her. I can see, however, that she's a very good writer although the story here (short STORIES, really, but made into one cohesive novel because of the commonality of characters in each of the stories: Rose, her stepmother Flo, her husband, father and lovers) set mostly in poor, rural Canada, with lush details but concentrated mostly with the characters' emotions and nuances of feelings, left me with regret that Alice Munro did not do something more, well, meatier.

"The Beggar Maid" is the title of the 5th story while the last one (the 10th) is entitled "Who Do You Think You Are?" This book was originally published with the latter as its title. The best, however, I think is its 4th story, "Wild Swans." Here Rose, on a train, pretending to be asleep, allows herself to be fingerfucked by a middle-age man, who had introduced himself earlier as a church minister, and who likewise pretends to be asleep while pleasuring Rose. Without abandoning the decency, lyricism and poetry in her prose, Alice Munro succeeds in being intensely erotic. Like she drives you into wild sex while she makes you listen to monks piously doing their Gregorian chants. Marvelous writing!
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