Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Love of a Good Woman” as Want to Read:
The Love of a Good Woman
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Love of a Good Woman

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  7,302 ratings  ·  660 reviews
**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**

Alice Munro has a genius for entering the lives of ordinary people and capturing the passions and contradictions that lie just below the surface. In this brilliant new collection she takes mainly the lives of women - unruly, ungovernable, unpredictable, unexpected, funny, sexy and completely recognisable - and brings their hidden
Paperback, 352 pages
Published March 2nd 2000 (first published 1998)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Love of a Good Woman, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Love of a Good Woman

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.03  · 
Rating details
 ·  7,302 ratings  ·  660 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Love of a Good Woman
Feb 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've never been one to read short stories - I've had a bit of a prejudice against them, if I'm going to be honest. It's not since the last year or two that I've made an effort to foray into the world of short stories, and to gain an appreciation for them. That's my feeble excuse for having lived this long without reading Alice Munro. Bad Canadian, I am! Bad!!

I'm not sure if I was just acclimatising myself to her style and rhythm, but I didn't get hooked onto this collection until I started readi
Jul 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"The Love of a Good Woman" contains eight (8) great short stories which examine us (primarily women) in everyday dealings with others. These stories peep into relationships with family, friends, etc.

The writing gives one a clear picture of the setting and the people. Whether out-of-doors or inside the authors uses words to paint a picture. We learn every wrinkle on every face, every hair out of place, even every body odor.

Marriage, adultery, fornication, divorce, child birth, adoption, abortion
May 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
It seems somewhat fitting on a Mother’s Day weekend to review Alice Munro’s The Love of a Good Woman, a very fine collection of eight stories. Set likely between the 1940s and 1970s in various Canadian cities, Munro offers a mesmerizing collage of ordinary women. They lead run-of-the mill lives and are confronted by challenges and temptations common to their gender. What holds center stage is how these women, in their fierce longing to be all they are meant to be, discover in themselves a humbli ...more
Dec 16, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I do not often read short stories but after reading so many good reviews for Alice Munro's writing I at last decided to read her. And I was not disappointed - by her writing. But I am conflicted by the stories themselves. The stories are very intimate slices of life. It's as if across the span of someone's life, Munro reaches in and randomly grabs a moment when the character is at a crossroads. There is little introduction to each story, few details of what came before this moment. You get exact ...more
Mar 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
I’m sure I’m not the first to point out how well Alice Munro does things like develop characters, convey a sense of place, and tell fully fleshed out stories, all in a fraction of the space it takes novelists. At the same time, she seems to leave pieces of the puzzle out, making us wonder what her bigger points may have been. We’re rarely bludgeoned by the obvious. I’m going to guess, though, that any signal distortion is a problem on my end, not hers.

The people in her stories are engrossing and
Sep 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
I don’t know where to start with this book so I'm just going to dive in. Alice Munro is a very very good writer, the sort of talent who makes me think of Anne Rice's quip that Renoir sold his soul: it doesn't figure that a person can craft such luminously wonderful art without divine or diabolical help!

One of the things she does magnificently is write about children from their perspective in a way that is as delightful and frustrating and surprising as actually being with children. Once you've m
Katie Lumsden
Feb 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I can't believe it took me so long to read Alice Munro. A brilliant collection, with some really fantastic stories, and wonderful writing throughout.
Gail Winfree
Oct 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
When Alice Munro—an 82-year-old Canadian woman who writes short stories—received the Nobel Prize for Literature (calling her the “master of the contemporary short story”) last year, I was excited. I knew Munro, but had never read her work. So I went upstairs and started going through my bookshelves to find something by her. (That’s the good thing about having an extensive collection of books: You don’t have to go far to find what you’re looking for.) “The Love of a Good Woman” is the book I foun ...more
Sep 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
Read half of the stories in this book and don't know why, but none of them made me want to read the rest, and I had to make myself keep picking it up again, when I really just wanted to move on to a different book. So....since I started it four days ago and didn't get very far, that's what I'm going to do!
There is so much that I love about this collection of stories. For me, when a short story is written well, there is nothing better. There is something just so perfect in that tightly constructed package, where words (and pages) aren't wasted, and you experience the whole thing in one burst of reading. I guess if I was a faster reader, this might hold true for novels too - but I rarely read a novel in less than a week.

It is no secret Munro is a highly skilled writer, with a knack for elevating th
I've been reading these stories slowly over the past three months. I would read one, then I'd set the book aside, read something else. Then pick the book up for the next story. Alice Munro has been called one of the best modern short story authors, and it's easy to see why in this collection. There are no real narrative twists here, no thrilling plotlines, no magical powers. And yet. The characters radiate with authenticity and life in a way that's almost hard to believe. They aren't likeable, t ...more
Alice Munro wins the Nobel Prize for literature:

Well deserved! If you haven't read her short stories yet, this collection is a great place to start. These stories focus on woman as the main characters, women who are trying to find their place in life and in many ways, women who are not happy with the roles in life where they have been placed. Many of the decisions chosen by the women bothered me, some I applauded but always the stories are beautiful and w
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Loved these stories and puzzling out their meaning. They taught me how to read slowly, carefully, appreciatively...suspiciously. Munro drops clues like breadcrumbs: the stories are so satisfyingly solvable with patience and a big magnifying glass. She is meticulous with her image system. Every object, scene, event, situation, setting, works together to progress the plot and evoke the desired emotions. Reading and analyzing any one story is like taking a for-credit writing course.
Feb 12, 2008 rated it it was amazing
JUST READ THESE STORIES! They are like those times when you fall into unintended reverie and there's that one memory that sticks out without you being totally conscious of it. Well, she is conscious of it, and that is the stuff good short stories are made of.
Mar 21, 2020 rated it did not like it
i was a much happier person before i ever attempted to read this highly praised piece of pseudo-intellectual fiction. the boredom seeping out of alice munro's writing is deadlier than any virus.
Katharina S.
Apr 17, 2019 rated it it was amazing
"Munro's short stories are extraordinary in that they contain whole lives (which should have taken whole novels) in the brief spaces of tales" is a review in my copy of this book and it greatly sums up my thoughts on those stories. Not a big fan of short stories myself I enjoyed the different lifes of women presented in each story and wondered how the author managed too put so much information on each person, the communities they live in , future, present, past in one short story without me ever ...more
Janille N G
This is not my favourite Alice Munro short story collection (that would be Runaway) but it was such a joy to return to Munro’s work after a long time.

My favourite stories of this collection, as a new mother, had to be “Before the Change” and “My Mother’s Dream”. I also really enjoyed “Save The Reaper” and “The Children Stay”.

While this isn’t the collection I would recommend as an introduction to Munro’s writing (I would probably start with Lives of Girls and Women), it was still, of course, qu
Dec 16, 2013 rated it it was ok
In this collection of eight short stories, Alice Munro writes about the ordinary lives of small town folk – mostly women – generally set in Canada around the 1950s. I’m not a fan of short story collections to begin with, and this collection hit all the reasons why I don’t care for them. With very similar settings and topics, all the stories blend together in my mind. Nothing and no one becomes memorable. And, I certainly can’t become attached to any character or emotionally invest in a story if ...more
Allan MacDonell
Feb 16, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Now that I’m coming late to the books of Alice Munro, I’ve finally arrived at this: Nothing flashy, no showoff tactics and no clever calling attention to the author’s mastery. The whole-life characters who open their souls in Munro’s The Love of a Good Woman are drawn from a section of the planet where people are clouded in drizzle and where every step is hazarded on a piece of ground that sooner or later reverts to a path of slippery, sucking mud. In contrast to the murky, sliding settings, a c ...more
Elizabeth (Alaska)
This book is a case of the whole being greater than the sum of the parts. Each story was good, but not great; taken together, above average, the whole strengthening as each unrelated story is added with the others.

Munro's prose is almost soothing - in the first pages I could feel myself relax, just take it in, let the words wash over me. I think this is how most of the characters found life, too - that they just took it in, let it wash over them. None of the women seemed to have aspirations for
Tina Bui
Mar 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is my first Munro book, and after hearing so much praise about this author, I was glad to finally sink my teeth into one of her pieces. This book is a collection of short stories, which required me to shift my thinking from my YA reading to my adult one. Munro's stories are vividly described, her characters are fully developed and the stories are strange and beautifully written. They are also sophisticated, complicated and melancholic. The serious tone reminded me of reading an Orhan Pamuk ...more
Eslam Abdelghany
And here comes this quote which expresses precisely my impression,at least,for the first irregular reading:-

"Some of these short stories are absolute treasures describing so much life and living with so little effort. Delightful, touching and very good ones. "

Alice deserves another tour,sooner or later she will have it,NO DOUBT.
Jan Priddy
Oct 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's really unfair to give stars to Alice Munro. She is a star. All her stories are revelatory in their skill and humanity. So I judge them one against the other. It's been a long time since I read this one and it is not my very, very favorite. It probably deserves 5 stars. I will find it a reread and then make an adjustment.
Frances Sawaya
Feb 09, 2014 rated it it was amazing
It's interesting that goodreads asks the question, "What did you think?" When reading Munro there are other questions that deserve asking: how did you feel; what shook your roots; what changed your beliefs? The stories in this collection all raised those issues, in varying degrees of course. Yesterday I went into the readers' comments for this book and was surprised that some people thought there was little going on and thus gave the book 2 stars. Looking at only one story, "Save the Reaper" for ...more
This was my first Munro experience.

I picked it up for the title alone. Early in our relationship, my husband would look at me fondly and say, "You're a good woman." I was ready to read about other "good" women. I've since forgiven myself for all my crazy, not "good woman" moments because I don't hold a candle to these women.

There are two kinds of people in this world. Those who love short stories and those who hate short stories. I'm with the former, which means Munro suited me just fine because
Sep 03, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: stories
I'd like to give this book 3.5 stars, but I can't, so it only gets three. I don't know about Alice Munro. Her stories are compelling, but... I can't put my finger on it. Perhaps I just didn't like the theme of this collection.

I'm glad I read it, and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't really grab me, or speak to me, or make me think in the ways others have. I found myself forgetting what happened in the previous stories, and having to remind myself of the "theme" of the collection, which the st
Mary Billinghurst
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is a terrific collection, one of Alice Munro's best. I enjoyed all the stories, and found them less puzzling and more realistic than those in Open Secrets. I very much enjoyed the title story, "The Love of a Good Woman". "Cortes Island", "The Children Stay". and "Before the Change" but my absolute favourite was "My Mother's Dream".

I was mesmerized throughout this tale. One of its many strengths was the narrator, an infant girl who tells her mother's story. The characters in this family are
Sep 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
2006 notebook: What a joy. Long slow burning stories that resonate for days after. Stunning. Time-jumping, intriguing, they capture you. The way you hear about the optician's death in the title story, obliquely via boys you don't hear from again, so brilliantly done, a jump back and forth, even more so in Jakarta, about a kind of commune that attracts a married couple, then jumps forward to years later, the protagonists now old, looking back.
Feb 09, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Alice Munro is a virtuoso of "show-don't-tell" writing, and this ranks among the best collections of hers I have read. Each story tackles, questions, and subverts traditional gender norms in different and unexpected ways, with Munro's Canadian backdrop and drastic shifts in time omnipresent fixtures (as usual). The titular story, along with "Save the Reaper," "The Children Stay" and "My Mother's Dream" rank among her very best.
Edwige Pitchoune
Apr 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: book-club
I almost never read short stories and this book will definitely change my reading habits. I loved all the stories - except one: Before the change. Munro is an amazing storyteller, a master of suspense with a beautiful style and good descriptions. Each story has a mysterious, unexpected ending that makes you wonder what really happened Brillant!
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Book Club: The Love of a Good Woman 1 13 Jul 01, 2015 11:31AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Please edit details 2 19 Jun 28, 2015 04:19AM  
500 Great Books B...: The Love of a Good Woman - Alice Munro - Jen 2 20 Aug 13, 2014 07:52AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • Death by Landscape
  • Creionul de tâmplărie
  • Pain
  • After Rain
  • Five Women
  • Życie na miarę. Odzieżowe niewolnictwo
  • Het wolkenpaviljoen
  • La caída de los pájaros
  • Świat równoległy
  • Cómo maté a mi padre
  • Tiny Lights for Travellers
  • Kosmos
  • Człowiek
  • Paris Was Ours
  • The Last Crossing
  • The Garden Party
  • Araby
  • minunata lume disney
See similar books…
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

News & Interviews

Are you having a difficult time reading these days? If so, you're not alone. Since the pandemic began, I've found it harder to concentrate on...
64 likes · 29 comments
“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.” 80 likes
“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. ” 55 likes
More quotes…