Dia's Reviews > Selected Stories
Mar 07, 2009
Before reading this collection, I'd read one or two of Munro's stories in the New Yorker -- "Deep-Holes" was good enough to tear out & keep -- but I really didn't know what she was up to in general. This collection of short stories will let the reader feel thoroughly familiar with, though never bored by, Munro's style. There are certain things she almost always does (once past her earliest works): begin with a story that isn't the real story and doesn't even really illuminate the real story but is just as interesting as the real story; tell us how different characters are approaching a "shared" experience; show how aware and critical many rural Canadians are of deviations from their cultural norms; hint at what deviant secrets are kept by same; display the variety of ways that rural Canadian women have asserted their needs and desires; conclude almost arbitrarily. In a restaurant, I told my husband that Munro's characters are just slightly more interesting than actual people tend to be. It seemed to me that the man sitting near us overheard me say that, and I worried for a moment that he might have felt insulted -- then I wondered: could he have walked to this restaurant alone across a moonlit field of snow, wondering why his wife wasn't more upset by discovering the corpses of her neighbors two nights ago? Munro has been compared to Chekhov and Tolstoy, but I think her writing is slightly less philosophical and more titillating than is theirs - and better for solitary twilight indulging.
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March 7, 2009 – Shelved