Abby's Reviews > Runaway

Runaway by Alice Munro
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May 02, 08

really liked it
bookshelves: fiction
Read in May, 2008

I was a little reluctant to begin reading more work by Alice Munro, as the images burned into my brain by "Wild Swans" have never fully left.
This collection is not nearly so haunting as I remember Alice Munro's other stories, and therefore also more enjoyable. Some of the pieces, notably "Runaway" and "Grace," had me forgetting that I was reading Alice Munro, and not that other prolific Canadian author, Margaret Atwood. Maybe there is something similar about the two writers, or maybe there is just something so pervasive about the vastness and austerity of the Canadian landscape, and the women who inhabit it, that my American mind is overwhelmed by it in the same way that I can always hear a Southern accent but never my own Midwestern twang.
I think I'm also going soft, because I was thankful for the trick in the end of "Tricks" (which I didn't realize was the name of the story when I read it). Munro throws her readers a bone with this twist, instead of leaving us with a cold and empty story that has us pondering the indecipherable nature of the human condition. Or maybe I've just kowtowed too much to those who believe that really good art, especially really good literature (James Joyce's The Dead comes to mind) must be cold and miserable and not give too much away. And that anything that leaves us feeling a little bit better is "chick lit," appropriate only for bedtime reading. Runaway certainly is good bedtime reading, but don't get the incorrect belief that it is cozy or cuddly.
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