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The Progress of Love

4.11  ·  Rating details ·  3,242 ratings  ·  243 reviews

A divorced woman returns to her childhood home where she confronts the memory of her parents' confounding yet deep bond. The accidental near-drowning of a child exposes the fragility of the trust between children and parents. A young man, remembering a terrifying childhood incident, wrestles with the responsibility he has always
Paperback, 320 pages
Published December 12th 2000 by Vintage (first published 1986)
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Average rating 4.11  · 
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 ·  3,242 ratings  ·  243 reviews

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Aug 30, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2017
Munro portrays how marital and filial love evolves through generations as the role of men and women shifts following the waves of emancipation and economic independence.
A divorced woman returns to her childhood home and fragmented memories of the tense relationship between her mother and her grandparents frame the setting for her mother's predisposition to love the man she married forever. But at what cost? Faith seems to work when doubts arise for past generations, but it proves to be useless i
Dec 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: short-stories
Alice Munro has been my favourite literary discovery of the year. This was my third book of hers. Another collection of short stories ( she's only written one novel). While I'd unreservedly recommend either of the other books I felt more lukewarm about this one. I felt she was a little short of inspiration for the most part and though every story is well written and has some points of interest none had the wow factor her other books had. It's not impossible my diminished enthusiasm is down to my ...more

Come with me, my love...

I’m an observer by nature. I guess you can say I like to watch. Birds. Bugs. Animals. Humans. The weather. I can sit in front of my bay window for hours watching a spider spin a web, a thunderstorm rolling in, a swarm of bees sipping nectar from my rhododendrons…

Alice Munro must be an observer by nature too, because her stories reveal her fascination with everyday life and everyday people. This particular collection focuses on rela
Jan 06, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I was twenty-two and reading Alice Munro, I wanted the stories to have a twist, a purpose, a meaning, a point. The conclusion had to be illuminating, and leave me feeling satisfied. But this—with exceptions such as “How I Met My Husband” (not in the collection)—just isn’t Alice Munro. And I’ve finally reached the point where I’m okay with that—to Alice’s great relief I’m sure. As I reread some of the stories I was indifferent to a few years ago—the inner worlds of these characters are so lu ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Aug 15, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 501, anthology
My first book by Alice Munro (born 1931) and oh my, she kicks ass!

What is it with female Canadian writers? I normally think twice before picking up any book by a female writer. This is not a sexist remark but most of them I tried hard to like them but they fell short of my expectations. Virginia Woolf will always be my favorite along with Dame Iris Murdoch. Then, I also enjoyed Surfacing by Margaret Atwood and Unless by Carol Shields. They are the first two female Canadian writers who both joine
I sometimes like to think of Alice Munro as a painter. In drawing her just so, I can consider that she must furnish the place she has made for her daily hours of work with these finely delineated and peculiarly detailed portraits of people who have never existed whole, but whom we have all met in part: people whose clothes and expressions we have worn, whose lives we have lived in, and into whose poses our own movement pours content.

Still, portraits are not her characteristic medium. Other than
Mar 26, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: short-stories
1993 notebook:
Dear Alice Munro,
this is a fan letter. I was reading your stories in 'The Progress of Love' commuting - 1 story there, 1 story back. I catch a train - 12 pages, a walk across the city, then a bus - 10 pages. Today was 'Miles City, Montana' there, 'Fits' back. Fine, fine stories, heartstopping; the latter, especially the last 2 pages with its walk on snow over fences and its revelation, made me high. Expand with knowledge, insight. On a bus in Birmingham (UK) your stories on my lap
Feb 05, 2022 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
So, Margaret Atwood on Munro:
‘“Anatomised” might be closer to what goes on in the work of Munro, though even that term is too clinical. What should we call the combination of obsessive scrutiny, archaeological unearthing, precise and detailed recollection, the wallowing in the seamier and meaner and more vengeful undersides of human nature, the telling of erotic secrets, the nostalgia for vanished miseries, and rejoicing in the fullness and variety of life, stirred all together?’

Reading my 14th
Aug 01, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2011
Of the three collections I've read by Munro, I'd say this is arguably the weakest (the other two being Runaway and Open Secrets), but by any other standard, these are still utterly breathtaking stories. I suppose my two critiques would be that (a) this feels like cohesive as a collection in that each story seems only tangentially to tie back to a grander thematic thread; and (b) that there are two or three somewhat unmemorable stories. "Eskimo" and "Circle of Prayer" come to mind. Or rather, don ...more
Poorly written story with an uninteresting plot, limited character development, convoluted sentence structure and a pretty stupid ending. Pass.
Nov 12, 2013 rated it it was ok
I guess Alice Munro is a good writer. I'll probably read something else by her but in a more distant future.
I struggled with this book. Everything seemed to be right, yet every time I was picking it up, I was wincing. I was wading through it, I was procrastinating, I was looking for excuses to drop it. I wanted it to end.
I found it depressive although I have read far sadder books but their tone of sadness was understandable whereas this one was not. It was not that kind of suffering that leads t
Jan 21, 2019 rated it really liked it
Given that I have already reviewed three of Alice Munro’s books (Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage - the best of all to date, in my humble opinion, Runaway and The View from Castle Rock) and given that the eleven short-stories in The Progression of Love develop similar themes and motives (in the same unique style, of course) such as love, loneliness, bigotry, family, etc., by using her well-known narrative tools (broken timeline, subtle irony, free indirect style etc.), I decid ...more
Trishita (TrishReviews_ByTheBook)
I look for emotional connection/resonance with the books I read, if not in its overarching scope, at least in some limited narrative capacity. While my last reading of Alice Munro (Dear Life) was great, I remained a touch untouched by it. This one, however, was phenomenal; a stirring whirlwind of stories with stunning portrayals of the interior worlds of those (mostly women) who live an inward kind of life; and in terms of short collections, it’s now right alongside my best ever.

As the title say
clarice inspector
Mar 04, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
My first experience with Alice Munro was Open Secrets, which was published in 1994. I remember how her writing captivated me and from then on considered her as one of my favorite Canadian writers. The Progress of Love is a collection of 11 short stories, each featuring married couples with messy, flawed relationships. Usually when I think of love I imagine two individuals happily bound to one another and making the most mundane tasks remarkable, surpassing every obstacle together and coming out ...more
Morgan M. Page
Aug 30, 2022 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
So many little gay people in small town Ontario, it turns out!
Picked this book because of the tag saying " Winner of the Nobel prize in Literature 2013" thought I would be blown away. Sadly reading the first five stories I am disappointed. Found it a bit mundane. The stories in my opinion have the same sort of characters. For example a trucker who sort of abandons his family and goes to the Arctic to work in oil rigs. I encountered this character in two short stories so far. And the wife who brings up two boys all by her own.

Reading this book now has beco
Jan 10, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: couldn-t-finish
I'm sorry but I thought it was OK. Clearly based upon other reviews and awards I am in the minority. But these stories are just sketches of situations that don't really "say" anything. I never know quite what the message is or what I'm supposed to take away from it. This is "abstract" is beautifully written but I just need more. ...more
Poornima Vijayan
Alice Munro is the absolute queen of short stories. Each story is a micro universe of emotions. Gorgeous.
Nov 09, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Picking just one Munro - like one Carver, or one John McGahern - physically pains me. But since this volume contains stories of the calibre of 'Fits', 'Jesse and Meribeth' and 'Monsieur Le Deaux Chapeaux' in a single book, this one it is. ...more
Sep 02, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I quite enjoyed this book about the ebbs and flows of love of family, partners, and friends. I found many of the short stories started slow and not particularly interesting, but by the half way point or so of each story I almost always found myself intrigued on how the story was unfolding and finding out how it will end. Munro's undoubtedly skilled at writing complex stories about the commonplace, and her ability to contemplate motivations and inner worlds is a pleasure to read. ...more
Robert Sheard
May 29, 2021 rated it it was ok
I've wanted to read more Munro for a while because her reputation as a short story writer is so well-known, but I just don't click with her stories. A day or two after reading each one, I can't remember the characters or the story, and I just don't feel any connection. Sadly, I guess her stories just aren't for me. ...more
Naleendra Weerapitiya
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing
December is my usual date with that sweet old lady from Ontario, Canada, Ms. Alice Munro. Since am on a sequential reading of her works, I read "The Progress of Love" (1986), in December 2020, as one of the last books of the year.

The collection gets underway with the title short story, and it is a vivid illustration of the changing face of Canada, as how the average person lived it. The differences in how one views religion, relationships, even money over a period of 40-50 years has changed. The
Persephone Abbott
Oct 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
A reviewer remarked that it took more time to read these short stories than it did generally to read a novel. I can understand this statement because the stories are quite compact, really a very delightful trait, and do require some attention to the details to fully enter into the narrative. I deeply admire the choices of names and places that immediately made me believe the setting of the stories. The use of timelines is excellently manipulated yet graceful. The stories are of love; of simply w ...more
Oct 01, 2014 rated it it was ok
Nice collection of short stories, rather early work by Munro. Of course not everything was of the same level, but Munro is a master in the description of human emotions, especially with people that experience changes in their live.

Jun 22, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites, 2019
A very enjoyable read. The depth of her characters and the details of the story introduced me into a world which I didn’t want to leave by the end of each story. I wanted to linger in there for a while longer and find out more about the people inhabiting her worlds.
David M
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The title story. Damn.
Apr 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
I liked these quietly told, understated, stories about mostly quiet people. We learn what people have lived through and what they have done. How does Alice Munro make it all so interesting? She really knows how to write a short story. I especially notice the mastery of pacing and the order in which each thing is told. Some of the passages I liked:

The Progress of Love
page 4 My mother prayed on her knees at midday, at night, and first thing in the morning. Every day opened up to her to have God's
Andy Miller
Apr 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
This is one of the earlier, collections of Alice Munro stories, they were written in 1985 and 1986. So they don't have as much of the older person's reflections on a full life that her later stories had and because these were not the earliest stories, there aren't as many that recall her childhood, but they have the attributes of all Alice Munro stories, nuanced characters with interesting outlooks on life with wry sentences tying things together that only Munro can write.
For example, in the tit
Aug 26, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Gentle, sublime, such a light and subtle touch.
Really incredible.
Funny how I hesitate to give 5 stars, "...because they're just short stories and not a novel."
It's also how I felt when she won the Nobel Prize, "...for a short story writer?"
But there is as much art in short stories as there is in novels. Clearly this collection proves this.

(Youtube book reviews coming soon! It's not available today, but I hope in the next 2 weeks!
I'll be reviewing this one, I'm working on the sc
Jan 13, 2020 rated it liked it
This book, about the small moments between the large ones, has some very strong stories and some weak ones. Many of the stories had me in their grasps, while others left me craving more.
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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

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