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Runaway

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  20,188 ratings  ·  2,093 reviews
The incomparable Alice Munro’s bestselling and rapturously acclaimed Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her ...more
Paperback, First Vintage Contemporaries Edition, 335 pages
Published November 2005 by Vintage Contemporaries (first published August 11th 2003)
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Manny
Not, who has read more Alice Munro that I have, wants to know why she doesn't write novels. Her uncharitable hypothesis is that Munro is too lazy to do the necessary work; she'd rather just scribble down each idea in short story form and then move on to the next one. Other people criticize her for being "cerebral" or "contrived". I don't agree with any of this, but I can see where the accusations are coming from.

After some thought, I find a metaphor which sums up my own feelings. It's true that
...more
Cecily
Runaway: Noun or Verb?

As a noun, “runaway” conjures a fairly specific character and situation.


Image: Runaway child with backpack

But as a phrasal verb, running away is often much broader and more metaphorical.

Right now, writing this, while sitting at my laptop, I’m running away from planning a conference presentation. In the past, I have run away from physical fear (trying to climb a net); a job I hated so much it was making me ill; and from potential rejection (and thus from possible acceptance
...more
Katie
Jul 03, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Another superb collection of stories by Alice Munro. The stories in this collection are longer and often make giant leaps forward in time so we get a sense of the entire life of her characters. She also uses the same character in three stories. As usual, her main theme is the lives of women who can't quite find an inspiring home in the world in which they're forced to live. Dysfunctional relationships, especially with men but sometimes with daughters, abound. She's so good at evoking the settlin ...more
Tatiana
Feb 17, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Margaret Atwood's fans
Recommended to Tatiana by: The New Yorker fiction podcast
As seen on The Readventurer

Like many readers, I claim quite often that I am not really a fan of short stories, that is, I claim that until I come across the next good short story collection, like Alice Munro's Runaway. My imaginary dislike for shorts can surely be traced to reading too many poorly assembled multi-author anthologies. There are maybe two of them in existence that I can honestly call good. From my experience, single-author collections are much, much more satisfying.

Once again, I ha
...more
Ahmad Sharabiani
Runaway: Stories, Alice Munro
Runaway is a book of short stories by Alice Munro. First published in 2004 by McClelland and Stewart, it was awarded that year's Giller Prize and Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.
There are eight short stories in the book. Three of the stories ("Chance", "Soon", and "Silence") are about a single character named "Juliet Henderson".
"Runaway" – a woman is trapped in a bad marriage.
"Chance" – Juliet takes a train trip which leads to an affair.
"Soon" – Juliet visits her
...more
brian
Jan 04, 2010 rated it liked it
in 1997, the reigning king of redonda, a tiny island & micronation in the bahamas, was so moved by superstar spanish writer javier marias's novel todas las almas that he abdicated the throne and handed it to marias. weird shit. so marias confers the title of 'duke' and 'duchess' to certain people, amongst them:

john ashbery (duke of convexo)
pedro almodovar (duke of trémula)
frank gehry (duke of nervión)
w.g. sebald (duke of vértigo)
guillermo cabrera infante (duke of tigres)

every year all the dukes
...more
PattyMacDotComma
Jun 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story lovers
3.5★
“In the brief note she left, she had used the word “authentic.” I have always felt the need of a more authentic kind of life. I know I cannot expect you to understand this.


That was Carla's note to her parents when she ran away with Clark, a no-good drifter, as her stepfather called him. She says he saved up the money for a farm, so he can’t be all bad. But he IS temperamental.

“Clark often had fights, and not just with the people he owed money to. His friendliness, compelling at first, could
...more
Raul Bimenyimana
May 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: women-writers
I agree with those that claim Alice Munro stories are like novels, in that they are expansive. You're left feeling you've departed a journey with these characters that you've come to like, detest and feel disappointed in. Also, they're longer than the average short story. But Munro, in sweeping wonderful prose writes such striking characters in mostly small ordinary Canadian towns.
Susan
May 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Short stories can be deeply unsatisfying. Too often the nuance overshadows character and plot development, as if the author is cruelly trying to offer the reader a tiny taste of a story before yanking it away again. No so with Alice Munro. She writes with such simplicity and economy and mystery. The mystery arises from the way that she presents each story--just a few words at the outset, perfectly descriptive, but never overly so. And then the rest of it is just like (**alert**be prepared for ti ...more
Paul
Apr 06, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2008
Here's what Jonathan Franzen said about this book in the NY Times Book Review:

Basically, Runaway is so good that I don't want to talk about it here. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it.

But here's what Michiko Kakutani says about it in the NY Times:

Instead of assuming the organic, musical form of real life, they feel like self-conscious, overworked tales, relying on awkwardly withheld secrets and O'Henryesque twists to create narra
...more
Peter Boyle
May 17, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Runaway is another wonderful collection of short stories from the masterful Alice Munro. This is the second book of hers that I've read and I'm starting to see a common theme emerge. The protagonists are usually women, and the stories usually revolve around a crucial moment in their lives. They often look back on the decisions they have made with a mixture of regret and remorse.

Three of the stories focus on Juliet, a teacher, at different stages of her life. In Chance, she meets her future husba
...more
David Schaafsma
Oct 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Runaway is one of the short story collections of 2013 Nobel Prize winner, Canadian Alice Munro. I listened to the book, and really liked it, though I am a white middle-class, late-middle-aged man, and this book features white middle-class Canadian (particularly from Ontario) women, many of them late-middle aged. The focus is on stories of women and girls, on relationships, sometimes with men, and the every day, in every day language. They are unfussy, unpretentious, realistic literary fiction. I ...more
Bruce
Nov 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
This 2004 collection of eight stories by the Nobel Prize winning Canadian short story writer wonderfully demonstrates her narrative flair, the careful construction of her stories, and her psychological sensitivity and perception. As is characteristic of her work, the stories here feature women navigating the shoals of familial constraints, transitions, and, to use an overused term, dysfunctions. Munro works with an economy of language, conjuring moods and shifts of meaning, the subtleties of rel ...more
Glenn Sumi
One of Munro's best books, Runaway is also one of her most thematically consistent collections. The idea of "running away" or "escape" permeates each tale. And what to make of the fact that the book consists of clipped, one-word titles? Intriguing.

I love the linked sequence of three narratives ("Chance," "Soon," and "Silence"), and if you read carefully you'll see each of those words is repeated significantly in other stories, especially "chance." (Think of the chain of events in "Tricks," the s
...more
Dolors
Jun 11, 2018 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Those not easily disturbed
Shelves: read-in-2018
Carla is a young woman who eloped with Clark, his former horse-riding teacher, to live her farm dream. As it usually happens in real life, the dream turns out to be a rather gloomy nightmare. Clark has fits of moodiness and treats her with despise and coldness.
Carla's neighbor Sylvie hires her to take care of the house while she tends to her moribund husband. A strong bond develops between the two women, and for a moment, the reader has high hopes for Carla: will she be resilient enough to esca
...more
Vonia
I do not usually prefer short stories, but Alice Munro's "Runaway" is an exception. Munro's work as a whole, in fact. Everybody knows that short stories are more difficult to perfect than the novel, thus the lack of well-written ones.

What makes her sorry stories stand out? One notable difference is that Munro's short stories are actually not that short. Strictly in words, many lean towards the lengthier "definition". (Short stories are not defined by length as much as structure. Although there'
...more
Jane
Feb 01, 2009 rated it it was ok
I didn't realize this was a book of short stories when I bought it. It's my first book of short stories. I've decided that I don't care much for short stories. The characters and stories aren't developed enough. Her stories were a bit bizarre, mostly with endings I didn't like. Parts of the stories are interesting and I kept expecting them to get better and then I'd get disappointed. The only one I liked was the second to the last story. I think it was called Tricks. The last story I didn't unde ...more
Thing Two
Alice Munro - you can't just read her once. You've got to read her again, and again, and again.

Her stories written about women and men who live lives like you and I - quietly going about their days, wondering if they missed out on that great big love, or that great big chance; arguing with their children, or their parents, or both; pretending that life is grand, pretending that life isn't pointless.

She writes lush, beautiful tales which are long and enjoyable to read. I'm reading her again, soo
...more
Jo Walton
Thank you, Lev Grossman for comparing my work to Alice Munro and letting me know of her existence. I'm nothing like her, but that doesn't matter, she's wonderful, and now I can read everything she's written, yay!
Matt
Apr 24, 2012 added it
If Alice Munro built a bridge out of popsicle sticks to cross the Colorado River at any point, I wouldn't hesitate to step on it. Whatever there is to say about her genius, and there's a lot, we have to say, of all the instruments she commands as a writer, *structure* is the one with which she is most masterful. This is how she's a realist--not because all the people in her stories wear pants (when appropriate) and none have nipples that light up like flashlights on touch, but because meaning an ...more
Thomas
If you need someone to sell you on short stories, go to Alice Munro. Her writing is straightforward and easy to grasp, yet it still conveys a wide range of striking and subtle emotions. In Runaway, most of the stories involve a middle-aged woman reflecting on her past and how an event has affected her life. The premise of each story appears simple - a woman has a passionate love affair with a married man, a daughter fails to comfort her mom - which allows Munro to weave in truths about human rel ...more
David
Jul 16, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is the first Munro book of short stories I've read. I've been wanting to read her work because of her fame. Neither disappointed nor elated by reading her stories, I felt foreign.

I've been to Canada only a few times and I've known a few Canadians personally. I get the feeling that I would be very lonely if I lived among Munro's characters, especially the women, which in this book she focuses on. While much of Canada is beautiful, Munro's characters do not seem to notice. They are an inward
...more
Jenbebookish
Apr 21, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2014, short-stories
I've never been a fan of short stories. And until recently I wasn't aware that I share this dislike with a pretty significant amount of people…I've been seeing around Goodreads how common it is for people who read novels not to like short stories. It would be interesting to know if the reasons for that distaste are all similar, at the core.

So, I started this book with an open mind. I was excited to read it, knowing after all, that Alice Munro is a Nobel Laureate from 2013 and that her fan base c
...more
Chris Gager
May 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This will be my second read of this book. It's been a few years and also a while since I've read any Alice Munro, my favorite writer. Nobel Prize winner now and well deserved! I decided to read it because my friend Alice wrote some trivia questions from it and I couldn't remember much.

"Runaway" is the lead story and one I read first in The New Yorker. In fact, I may not have actually read any of these stories in book form before. Five of the eight appeared in the New Yorker and that's where I l
...more
Michael
020219: i think i have read everything published by alice munro (aunt a). she is my father’s elder sister. she is always famous/infamous in my childhood, youth, maturity or whatever, and kind of dread expectation of where i am likely going. i start to show artistic tendencies at once, maybe i am smart as my brother but nowhere as kind, always observant, always waiting. my father and his sisters are probably no more estranged than siblings become, but being of intellectual sorts, it becomes clear ...more
Marianne
Jul 16, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Runaway is a short story by prize-winning Canadian author, Alice Munro, available free at https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/20.... Carla is a runaway, having left her parents in Toronto to live with Clarke in a trailer, looking after his horses and helping with riding lessons. Carla’s step-father called him a loser and a drifter; her mother said he’d break her heart. Money is tight but Clarke has a plan that involves their neighbour, recently widowed Sylvia Jamieson. Carla is sent up to the hou ...more
averybird
Sometimes after reading several male authors in succession, I suddenly have a deep longing for the feminine voice, and so was delighted to settle in to this collection of stories that all center around women (up to and including my favorite female of all, the little white nanny goat, Flora, in Runaway). Munro does a great job of capturing the interior world of women at all ages, the feelings and thoughts so real to us. She also has a special talent for putting into words the quiet revelations li ...more
Roberto Macias
Aug 07, 2011 rated it did not like it
I am a serious fan of short stories. Like Aphorismos, I think they are a much bigger expression of prose than the long texts, since the author must be concise and convey the whole idea in a shorter text. No room for babbling. Now as for Munro, well her short stories ar insightful, langague is clean and developed, an she has a clearly piercing mind. But that's it, she does not have the lucidity of the great authors, I agree with the prologue that short stories do not get the credit they deserve, ...more
notgettingenough
Alice Munro can be a bit ‘men are bad, woe is Woman’ for me, which this one, at any rate, avoids.

Rest:

http://alittleteaalittlechat.wordpres...
...more
Stephen Goldenberg
Apr 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
How has it taken me so long to discover Alice Munro? Probably because, like so many other reviewers, I'm not that keen on short stories and my favourite short story writers tend to be of the 'dirty realist', quirky snippets of every day life style - Raymond Carver, Flannery O'Connor. Alice Munro's stories are more like short novels often covering large expanses of time and of her characters' lives. Indeed the three Juliet stories at the heart of this collection could easily have been turned into ...more
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4,623 followers
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
...more

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