Dolors's Reviews > Selected Stories

Selected Stories by Alice Munro
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it was amazing
bookshelves: read-in-2017
Read 5 times. Last read October 31, 2017.

The randomness of life, the fine line that separates tragedy from the quotidian, and the silent cracks that grow till they can't be mended after years of repressed grudges.
The desperation of a woman who knows her marriage is going to end and her prayers so that the story doesn't repeat with her two daughters.
As it is usual with Munro, there is no neat closure, just a fragmented glimpse into a life and a stolen glance into what might have been, out of sheer serendipity. Merciless tragedy or simply everyday struggles. Few things in life can be chosen...particularly the transcendental things. So cherish them while they are within your grasp.

Merged review:

Daunting, disquieting short story about a middle-aged poetess who briefly entertains the idea of marrying her widowed neighbour.
A violent incident involving a man beating his drunk wife over the fence of the protagonist works as a metaphor for the stillborn affair between the widower and the poetess. A pool of grape juice in the kitchen of the woman the following day, and the monthly discomforts of her menstruation awakens the poetess from a kind of stupor and she understands that words and verses are all she needs to be whole. She has made her choice.
Later on, the local newspaper covers her death and she is described as an eccentric woman who lost her mind, making indirect allusions to her undesirable condition of being unmarried.
The price she has to pay to remain independent is that of brief allusions to her poetry, and a more apologetic, detailed account of her personal life, which clearly didn't satisfy the general opinion.
Sad and unbelievable, but still so common today...

Merged review:

Oh my, what a trip.
This short story had my mind reeling, my heart racing and my stomach churning with anticipation.
Two couples, two women who become confidants, Georgia and Maya. They tell each other their secrets. Maya is a restless soul, she needs constant adventure which his steadfast husband Raymond won't provide. Georgia has been comfortably married to her high school sweetheart Ben, until mysterious Miles appears in her life. Maya's influence or her need to feel alive, thrilled by a new passion? Georgia doesn't think twice and jumps into the thrilling unknown.

Munro is a master, a genius in portraying the miseries of the quotidian, of prolonged marriage, the meaning of friendship and betrayal. Her writing is never apologetic, and her characters are wounded people who yearn to infuse meaning to their lives.
Her astute depiction of romantic affairs, always sidetracked by the biased lens of a patriarchal society, presents women who suffer the scorn of others, but mostly, their own.
Georgia thinks she could have acted "differently" towards Maya, if she had known what would happen in the future, but truth is, she never had a chance of making a choice. Her course of action was set even before she knew it, and she didn't have the courage to defy her hurt pride and blame man and woman, lover and best friend, in equal terms, as it often happens in real life. Top notch read.

Merged review:

A story within a story. A Canadian young woman is held captive by an Albanian tribe while she is on a cruise in Croatia. The woman adopts the customs and manners of the tribe until the community deems fit to sell her to a Muslim as a bride. A Franciscan priest helps her escape.
A Canadian woman flees from her marriage right after she confesses to have an affair with her neighbor. She opens a bookstore and amalgametes a wide arrange of eccentric friends.
The two stories converge into a double happy ending with unexpected surprises.
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Comments Showing 1-16 of 16 (16 new)

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message 1: by Agnieszka (new)

Agnieszka Don't know that particular story, Dolors, but you capture spirit of Munro's writing perfectly.


Dolors Agnieszka wrote: "Don't know that particular story, Dolors, but you capture spirit of Munro's writing perfectly."

Thanks Agna... I am getting acquainted with Munro's style and I am growing fond of her thought-provoking, realistic stories.


message 3: by Betsy (new)

Betsy Robinson And top notch review, Dolors.


Dolors Betsy wrote: "And top notch review, Dolors."

Heh, many thanks Betsy. Munro doesn't stop to amaze me. What a great, thought-provoking writer...


message 5: by Debbie (new) - added it

Debbie Bizarro book! great review!


Dolors Debbie wrote: "Bizarro book! great review!"

Bizarro is the perfect adjective for this short story, Debbie!


message 7: by Cecily (new)

Cecily This sounds poignant and beautiful - and maybe now is the time to consider reading Haruf's Our Souls at Night?


Dolors Cecily wrote: "This sounds poignant and beautiful - and maybe now is the time to consider reading Haruf's Our Souls at Night?"

Oh, that is a fairly good connection, Cecily, although I have the feeling I will much prefer Haruf's melancholic, kind prose than Munro's sharp-edged voice.


message 9: by Cecily (new)

Cecily Dolors wrote: "I have the feeling I will much prefer Haruf's melancholic, kind prose than Munro's sharp-edged voice."

I've not read this particular Munro story, but Our Souls at Night is certainly gently melancholic, and it sounds as if there is much overlap of situation and theme.


Dolors Cecily wrote: "Dolors wrote: "I have the feeling I will much prefer Haruf's melancholic, kind prose than Munro's sharp-edged voice."

I've not read this particular Munro story, but Our Souls at Night is certainly..."


I haven't read "Our Souls at Night", but having recently read the Plainsong trilogy, I am pretty sure that the focus and tone of the stories are different, even if there might be overlapping in situation and theme.


message 11: by Cecily (last edited Nov 04, 2017 03:13AM) (new)

Cecily There's not much overlap of situation (other than the town of Holt) and theme with Our Souls and Plainsong, but it certainly sounds as if there is between Our Souls and this. But likely very different tone - which is why it would be interesting to read and compare. (No pressure, though.)


message 12: by Samra (new)

Samra Yusuf I feel sorry for the poetess:( thankyou for bringing this up,didn't know this short story of Munro,happy weekend Dolors!


Dolors Cecily wrote: "There's not much overlap of situation (other than the town of Holt) and theme with Our Souls and Plainsong, but it certainly sounds as if there is between Our Souls and this. But likely very differ..."

I will read Our Souls for sure, Cecily. I loved the Plainsong series, and I see myself reading everything Haruf wrote, so you might get your comparison!


Dolors Samra wrote: "I feel sorry for the poetess:( thankyou for bringing this up,didn't know this short story of Munro,happy weekend Dolors!"

Many thanks, Samra! Yes, it was a sad story of loneliness and unrecogniztion. She goes away without having bonded with anybody, not even with her readers.
Happy weekend to you as well, make each moment count!


message 15: by Ilse (new) - added it

Ilse Sorrowful and haunting it might be, this sounds right up my alley, Dolors. How much inner strength we need to be able to live with our own choices. Thank you for this insightful and sensitive write-up.


Dolors Ilse wrote: "Sorrowful and haunting it might be, this sounds right up my alley, Dolors. How much inner strength we need to be able to live with our own choices. Thank you for this insightful and sensitive write..."

Munro charms me, Ilse. She writes incredibly varied stories and always manages to stimulate my mind and move me to the core. So many points in which I recognize my own fears and vulnerabilities in her writing! I hope you enjoy it, if you read it, my friend.


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