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Alice Munro quotes (showing 1-30 of 336)

“The constant happiness is curiosity.”
Alice Munro
“The conversation of kisses. Subtle, engrossing, fearless, transforming.”
Alice Munro, Runaway
“There is a limit to the amount of misery and disarray you will put up with, for love, just as there is a limit to the amount of mess you can stand around a house. You can't know the limit beforehand, but you will know when you've reached it. I believe this.”
Alice Munro
“Never underestimate the meanness in people's souls... Even when they're being kind... especially when they're being kind.”
Alice Munro
“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.”
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
“A story is not like a road to follow … it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while, wandering back and forth and settling where you like and discovering how the room and corridors relate to each other, how the world outside is altered by being viewed from these windows. And you, the visitor, the reader, are altered as well by being in this enclosed space, whether it is ample and easy or full of crooked turns, or sparsely or opulently furnished. You can go back again and again, and the house, the story, always contains more than you saw the last time. It also has a sturdy sense of itself of being built out of its own necessity, not just to shelter or beguile you.”
Alice Munro, Selected Stories
“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.”
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
“Because if she let go of her grief even for a minute it would only hit her harder when she bumped into it again. ”
Alice Munro, Away from Her
“You cannot let your parents anywhere near your real humiliations.”
Alice Munro, Open Secrets
“Moments of kindness and reconciliation are worth having, even if the parting has to come sooner or later.”
Alice Munro
“Why is it a surprise to find that people other than ourselves are able to tell lies?”
Alice Munro
“This is what happens. You put it away for a little while, and now and again you look in the closet for something else and you remember, and you think, soon. Then it becomes something that is just there, in the closet, and other things get crowded in front of it and on top of it and finally you don't think about it at all.

The thing that was your bright treasure. You don't think about it. A loss you could not contemplate at one time, and now it becomes something you can barely remember.

This is what happens.

...

Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang onto it. You must not let yourself be waylaid, and have it taken from you.”
Alice Munro, Runaway
“The thing is to be happy,' he said. 'No matter what. Just try that. You can. It gets to be easier and easier. It's nothing to do with circumstances. You wouldn't believe how good it is. Accept everything and then tragedy disappears. Or tragedy lightens, anyway, you're just there, going along easy in the world.”
Alice Munro, Dear Life: Stories
“She was learning, quite late, what many people around her appeared to have known since childhood that life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements.”
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
“His face contained for me all possibilities of fierceness and sweetness, pride and submissiveness, violence, self-containment. I never saw more in it than I had when I saw it first, because I saw everything then. The whole thing in him that I was going to love, and never catch or explain.”
Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
“He never wanted to be away from her. She had the spark of life. ”
Alice Munro, Away from Her
“If I decided to send this to you, where would I send it? When I think of writing the whole address on the envelope I am paralyzed. It's too painful to think of you in the same place with your life going on in the same way, minus me. And to think of you not there, you somewhere else but I don't know where that is, is worse.”
Alice Munro, The Love of a Good Woman
“Love removes the world for you, and just as surely when it's going well as when it's going badly.”
Alice Munro, The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose
“I can't play bridge. I don't play tennis. All those things that people learn, and I admire, there hasn't seemed time for. But what there is time for is looking out the window.

Alice Munro
“People’s lives, in Jubilee as elsewhere, were dull, simple, amazing, and unfathomable – deep caves paved with kitchen linoleum.”
Alice Munro, Lives of Girls and Women
“Life would be grand if it weren't for the people.”
Alice Munro
tags: life
“They were all in their early thirties. An age at which it is sometimes hard to admit that what you are living is your life.”
Alice Munro, The Moons of Jupiter
“She would live now, not read.”
Alice Munro, Dear Life: Stories
“People are curious. A few people are. ... They will put things together, knowing all along that they may be mistaken. You see them going around with notebooks, scraping the dirt off gravestones, reading microfilm, just in the hope of seeing this trickle in time, making a connection, rescuing one thing from the rubbish.”
Alice Munro, Friend of My Youth
“For we did makeup. But we didn't forgive each other. And we didn't take steps. And it got to be too late and we saw that each of us had invested too much in being in the right and we walked away and it was a relief. ”
Alice Munro, The Love of a Good Woman
“Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang onto it. You must not let yourself be waylaid, and have it taken from you.”
Alice Munro, Runaway
“My head was a magpie's nest lined with such bright scraps of information.”
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness
“As soon as a man and woman of almost any age are alone together within four walls it is assumed that anything may happen. Spontaneous combustion, instant fornication, triumph of the senses. What possibilities men and women must see in each other to infer such dangers. Or, believing in the dangers, how often they must think about the possibilities.”
Alice Munro
“She could not explain or quite understand that it wasn't altogether jealousy she felt, it was rage. And not because she couldn't shop like that or dress like that. It was because that was what girls were supposed to be like. That was what men - people, everybody - thought they should be like. Beautiful, treasured, spoiled, selfish, pea-brained. That was what a girl should be, to be fallen in love with. Then she would become a mother and she'd be all mushily devoted to her babies. Not selfish anymore, but just as pea-brained. Forever.”
Alice Munro, Runaway
“She sits in her usual ample armchair, with piles of books and unopened magazines around her. She sips cautiously from the mug of weak herb tea which is now her substitute for coffee. At one time she thought that she could not live without coffee, but it turned out that it is really the warm large mug she wants in her hands, that is the aid to thought or whatever it is she practices through the procession of hours, or of days.”
Alice Munro, Too Much Happiness

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