Ava's Reviews > Selected Stories

Selected Stories by Alice Munro
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really liked it
bookshelves: literature-i-guess, home-library, short-stories

It’s hard to put my thoughts on this book into words, but I’ll attempt to.

- Almost every story manages to connect the reader to the story in approximately 20 pages, makes you care about the characters.
- This book contains lots of dry humour and I love dry humour.
- Most of them are about ordinary women in Canada in some sort of marriage/love situation but definitely not all of them.
- I found it very interesting how characters changed over time, how they developed after certain experiences and their approach to them.
- The book is full of details and delicate descriptions and observations into human nature and I love it. A part of a person's life is described in such a careful way, it seems as if Munro knows them all personally (which she sort of does, of course).
- The stories blurred together a little after a while, I felt like the first 50-70% was more original.
- My favourites were Dulse, Labor Day Dinner, and Fits .

I'm a new fan of Munro’s elaborate, no-fuss, realistic style!

Some quotations:

'She had to remember directions, and the order in which to do things: to open her checkbook, to move forward when it was her turn in line, to choose one kind of bread over another, to drop a token in the slot. These seemed to be the most difficult things she had ever done. She had immense difficulty reading the names of the subway stations, and getting off at the right one, so that she could go to the apartment where she was staying. She would have found it hard to describe this difficulty. She knew perfectly well which was the right stop, she knew which stop it came after; she knew where she was. But she could not make the connection between herself and things outside herself, so that getting up and leaving the car, going up the stepts, going along the street all seemed to involve a bizarre effort. She thought afterwards that she had been seized up, as machines are said to be. Even at the time she had an image of herself. She saw herself as something like an egg carton, hollowed out in back.'

'That is, should she have stayed in the place where love is managed for you, not gone where you have to invent it, and reinvent it, and never know if these efforts will be enough?

' "(...) All people of great abilities are apt to be impatient in daily matters."
Rubbish, Lydia wanted to say, she sounds a proper bitch.'

' "I think about Andrew – what was I doing to him? Setting things up to find the failure in him, railing at him, then getting cold feet and making up. Gradually the need to get rid of him would build again, but I was always sure it was his fault – if he'd just do this or that I could love him. So horrible for him that he turned into – remember what you said he was? A stick."
"He was a stick," says Valerie.'

'She seemed to him courageous, truthful, without vanity. How out of this could come such touchiness, tearfulness, weariness, such a threat of collapse, he cannot imagine.
But the first impression is worth respecting, he thinks.'

'A division of opinion became evident between men and women. It was nearly always the men who believed and insisted that the trouble had been money, and it was the women who talked of illness. Who would kill themselves just because they were poor, said some women scornfully. Or even because they might go to jail? It was always a woman too who suggested unhappiness in the marriage, who hinted at the drama of a discovered infidelity or the memory of and old one.'

'Walking on this magic surface, he did not grow tired. He grew lighter, if anything. He was taking himself farther and farther away from town, although for a while he didn't realize this. In the clear air, the lights of Gilmore were so bright they seemed only half a field away, instead of half a mile, then a mile and a half, then two miles. Very fine flakes of snow, fine as dust, and glittering, lay on the crust that held him. There was a glitter too around the branches of the trees and bushes that he was getting closer to. It wasn't like the casing around twigs and delicate branches that an ice storm leaves. It was as if the wood itself had altered and begun to sparkle.'
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Reading Progress

June 5, 2017 – Started Reading
June 5, 2017 – Shelved
June 12, 2017 –
page 115
June 22, 2017 –
page 204
June 29, 2017 –
page 317
July 1, 2017 – Shelved as: literature-i-guess
July 1, 2017 – Shelved as: short-stories
July 1, 2017 – Shelved as: home-library
July 1, 2017 – Finished Reading

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