Too Much Happiness
Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writersthe winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.
In the first story a ...more
I pulled this quote from one of the stories in this very fine collection from the master of short stories, Alice Munro. Yet, I believe it sums up exceedingly well one of the themes running through every single story. There exist these significant moments in ones life, no matter how remarkable they may or may not appear at the time, that ...more
Hardly, when you're in the hands of such an inventive writer, one whose carefully crafted, richly suggestive stories burrow their way into the subconscious like actual memories.
Even in her late 70s, this year's Man Booker International Prize winner gets to show off some new tricks. Two of the stories are among the handful she's ...more
"Every one of us will be forgotten, Sophia thought but did not say, because of the tender sensibilities of men - particularly of a young man - on this point."
This quote is not only my favourite quote of the book, it summarizes some of Munro's writing qualities quite nicely. She is sometimes very witty and almost always cynical, perhaps slightly bitter and an acute observer. Four very fine qualities in a writer, yet for me there is something missing in most of the stories. Something of a more ...more
They make you wonder why people write novels. It's not so much that they have more to say, it's that they take so much longer to say it than Munro does. She makes everyone else look like they're doodling.
Dimensions: A woman whose husband no longer lives with her learns to maybe move on a bit. Well done for what it is, but didn't make a ...more
"This was easy to read and the stories and characters were easy to become. I just felt like, why? Why did she have these situations happen to her characters and why did she bother to write about them? It's not like I demand a lot of action, I just didn't get her choices. Just because you can write beautifully doesn't mean you ought to write beautifully about such things. The situations and the characters didn't seem to mesh for me. ...more
I started the collection on audiobook during a road trip, and finished it on paper. Listening to a story is a curious experience: you have no idea how long each it is going to last, and so are held in the total control of the writer. And when that writer has the mastery of Alice Munro, the sensation is both alarming and curiously satisfying. The first story, for instance, "Dimensions," beautifully read by Kimberly Farr, is about an hour long, but it has already taken ...more
These are brilliant and insightful stories, all with an unexpected twist. Too much happiness? That must be the readers state of mind because in the main the characters dont have a lot of it. Munro packs anguish, indecision, action and very human responses into 20-30 pages that have the depth and complexity of a novel ...more
How can a mother cope with the death of her children? Doree cannot help but blame her pernicious husband, the person who has murdered them in a moment of insanity, but she is also ...more
From Daily Lit:
In "Fiction," by bestselling author Alice Munro, a narrator lovingly describes the life and home she's built with her husbandand then describes how that life crumbles before her eyes. The rest of the story has our narrator in a different place in her life, reconciling with her past in a way she might never have expected.
Sometimes, I do not understand how criteria are used to assign a Nobel prize for literature....more
Ah, after book club, I was able to discover some notes of optimism. Perhaps Munro was using shocking allegory, such as stripping away clothing represented removal of ones mental ...more
This is my introduction to the works of Alice Munro, and it was a pleasant one. Wikipedia describes her work as "having revolutionized the architecture of short stories, especially in its tendency to move forward and backward in time. Her stories embed more than announce, reveal more than parade."
I think this is an accurate characterization of the stories I read. Interestingly, I didn't especially care for the time shifts, but chalk that up to a personal preference (hence ...more
Until last year I had never even heard of Alice Munro before. When she was rewarded with the Nobel Prize, I was a huge question mark, puzzled and confused with no idea of who this woman was. Of course I wanted to read some of her works in order to understand why she won ...more
When I finished this book, my unfiltered, automatic, gut reaction, voice screamed out:
Dreadful, absolutely dreadful! Why did I waste my time with this thing? It felt like a household chore.
Filled with the shame and indignity of my unabashed, reactionary response, my filtered, tempered and far more diplomatic voice superseded and took control of the situation:
"I find short story collections hot or cold; hit or miss; thrilling or unsatisfying; full of extreme reactions and degrees of ...more
Book Review: Too Much Happiness isn't all that happy, it can go to the dark and harsh and strange. Most of the stories try to find ways to scrape a little redemption from the pain and jolts of life. Not all. Be prepared for stories that begin in the safe and ordinary, but then venture into the grimmer realities of a life you don't want to live -- it can be a tough go. Not for the faint of heart. The first three stories were some of the ...more
She is the winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize in ...more