Read My Best Stories by Alice Munro Margaret Atwood Online


 My Best Stories   is a dazzling selection of stories—seventeen favourites chosen by the author from across her distinguished career. The stories are arranged in the order in which they were written, allowing even the most devoted Munro admirer to discover how her work developed. "Royal Beatings" shows us right away how far we are from the romantic world of happy endings My Best Stories   is a dazzling selection of stories—seventeen favourites chosen by the author from across her distinguished career. The stories are arranged in the order in which they were written, allowing even the most devoted Munro admirer to discover how her work developed. "Royal Beatings" shows us right away how far we are from the romantic world of happy endings. "The Albanian Virgin" smashes the idea that all of her stories are set in B.C. or in Ontario's "Alice Munro Country." "A Wilderness Station" breaks short story rules by transporting us back to the 1830s and then jumping forward more than a hundred years. And the final story, "The Bear Came Over the Mountain," which was adapted into the film Away from Her, leads us far beyond the turkey-plucking world of young girls into unflinching old age. Every story in this selection is superb. It is a book to read—and reread—very slowly, savouring each separate story. This collection of small masterpieces deserves a place in every book lover's home....

Title : My Best Stories
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ISBN : 9780143170396
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 576 Pages
Status : Available For Download
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My Best Stories Reviews

  • Ahmad Sharabiani
    2019-04-08 23:06

    My best stories, Alice Munro تاریخ نخستین خوانش: دوازدهم ماه جولای سال 2015 میلادیعنوان: عشق جایش تنگ است؛ نویسنده: آلیس مونرو؛ مترجم: نجمه رمضانی؛ تهران، نشر قطره، 1393؛ در 198 ص؛ شابک: 9786001197901؛ موضوع: داستانهای کوتاه از نویسندگان کانادایی قرن 21 ممونرو برنده ی جایزه ی ادبی نوبل سال 2013؛ مجموعه داستان‌هایی مثل: «رقص سایه‌ های شاد»، «زندگی دختران و زنان»، «رازهای عیان» و «دوستان جوانی من»، «فکر کردی کی هستی؟» و «فرار» نیز هستنددیگر آثار:رؤیای مادرم، آلیس مونرو، ترانه علیدوستی (مترجم)، تهران: نشر مرکز، 1390می‌خواستم چیزی بهت بگم، آلیس مونرو، نیایش عبدالکریمی (مترجم)، بیژن عبدالکریمی (مقدمه)، تهران: نقد فرهنگ، 1394فرار، آلیس مونرو، مژده دقیقی (مترجم)، ناشر: نیلوفردست مایه‌ها، آلیس مونرو، مرضیه ستوده (مترجم)؛دورنمای کاسل راک، آلیس مونرو، زهرا نی‌چین (مترجم)، ناشر: افراز، 1390خوشبختی در راه است، آلیس مونرو، مهری شرفی، (مترجم)، ناشر:ققنوس، 1392زندگی عزیز، آلیس مونرو، منیره ژیان، (مترجم)، ناشر: مهر صفا، اردیبهشت 1393و کتاب گریز پا (مجموعه سه داستان)، نویسنده: آلیس مونرو، شقایق قندهاری (مترجم)، ناشر: تهران، افق، 1385، در 192 ص؛ شابک: 9643692930؛ چاپ دوم 1387؛ چاپ سوم 1392؛ا. شربیانی

  • Glenn Sumi
    2019-04-25 03:12

    A superb introduction to one of the best writers in the English language. (If you can get a copy of 1996's Selected Stories you'll be able to sample even more of her early work - since this collection starts with her fourth book.)I've read some of these multiple times, studied them, quoted them, laughed over them and recognized myself and people I know in them.What she does with the short story form is astonishing. And while she's known for her stories set in a particular area of Southwestern Ontario that's as distinct as Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha County, there are also stories set in Albania, Vancouver, Toronto, Nova Scotia and (very memorably) Miles City, Montana.I really should read this all the way through again and write a proper review.

  • Dolors
    2019-03-29 20:57

    WWI. A young librarian receives a letter from a soldier who used to come to the Library to read, unbeknown to her. He declares his love for her and she falls in love with a stranger. When the war is over and the man returns home, the librarian finds out that he was previously engaged to another woman. She never sees his face or talks to him, but his words leave track on her heart forever.Years pass. A tragic accident in the piano factory where the soldier used to work. The widowed owner of the business returns some of his books to the Library and he falls in love with the Librarian.Years pass. WWII is over. The woman, a widow now, has an unexpected meeting with the past where everything seems possible, but it's finally only an illusion, like love, desire and the ghost of youth.

  • Julie
    2019-04-21 02:52

    Reading Munro is like having tea and conversation with a favourite, elderly aunt ... you enjoy the journey down memory lane up to a point, but after a while, the stories become tepid, much like the tea that's been sitting too long in its pot. She's a cosy read, and if you dip into her works only occasionally, you are rewarded with little gems. A sustained reading renders you senseless with frustration as she ambles and meanders quite pointlessly at times. Good to take to the cottage, or on a train trip: you can dip into it now and again, and if it gets mistakenly left behind on the seat, you wont be heartbroken by its loss.

  • Bruce
    2019-04-19 00:06

    In this collection of seventeen short stories, Alice Munro, the incomparable Canadian author, has woven her usual magic. Each narrative can be read in no more than an hour, yet each story lingers in the reader’s mind for days afterward. The last story in the collection, “The Bear Came Over the Mountain,” was the basis for the recent critically acclaimed Julie Christie movie, “Away From Her.”Many, perhaps most, of the stories revolve around a woman somewhat at the margins of her society, a woman who acts independently and often unpredictably to craft her own life, usually in ways at odds with the expectations of those around her. Told in the omniscient third person with free indirect discourse, Munro probes the convictions and motivations of her characters in subtle and sensitive ways, the results always being surprising and, in many cases, quite startling. Her plots are refreshingly complex for the short story genre, frequently involving interwoven flashbacks. Her characterizations create rounded primary characters by means of multiple hints and descriptions progressively introduced in nuanced ways, so that the reader comes to know and understand these people without always recognizing where that understanding came from. Munro’s ear for dialogue is exquisite, each character speaking with a distinctive and true voice, and her narratives are always psychologically realistic, no matter how surprising. The narratives, either directly or indirectly, are rooted in a sense of place, Munro’s Ontario, and I was enchanted by her ability to create the ambiance of that geographical area and society so acutely.Munro’s mastery of the craft of short story writing, her sensitivity to psychological nuance, and her facility in describing both persons and environment make her a preeminent contemporary writer, an author whose works are not to be missed.

  • Krista
    2019-04-02 21:49

    I've read most of My Best Stories from the collections they originally appeared in, but this was a welcome re-acquaintance; a reunion with the nearly forgotten. Here's a longish passage from "Miles City, Montana" that demonstrates why Alice Munro is the master, my guru:Disappeared.But she swam. She held her breath and came up swimming.What a chain of lucky links.That was all we spoke about - luck. But I was compelled to picture the opposite. At this moment, we could have been filling out forms. Meg removed from us, Meg's body being prepared for shipment. To Vancouver - where we had never noticed such a thing as a graveyard - or to Ontario? The scribbled drawings she had made this morning would still be in the back seat of the car. How could this be borne all at once, how did people bear it? The plump, sweet shoulders and hands and feet, the fine brown hair, the rather satisfied, secretive expression - all exactly the same as when she had been alive. The most ordinary tragedy. A child drowned in a swimming pool at noon on a sunny day. Things tidied up quickly. The pool opens as usual at two o'clock. The lifeguard is a bit shaken up and gets the afternoon off. She drives away with her boyfriend in the Roto-Rooter truck. The body sealed away in some kind of shipping coffin. Sedatives, phone calls, arrangements. Such a sudden vacancy, a blind sinking and shifting. Waking up groggy from the pills, thinking for a moment it wasn't true. Thinking if only we hadn't stopped, if only we hadn't taken this route, if only they hadn't let us use the pool. Probably no one would ever have known about the comb.There's something trashy about this kind of imagining, isn't there? Something shameful. Laying your finger on the wire to get the safe shock, feeling a bit of what it's like, then pulling back. Most of the stories in this fine collection have that effect on me: the safe shock; the imaginings of different outcomes, a different life. Munro knows people, knows women, and although I am no more likely to run off to Victoria to open a book store than I am to fall in with a failed hotelier or lonesome taxidermist, the women in these stories might as well be me, so honestly are they portrayed.I have no desire to tear apart these stories to find their working parts and meshing gears but will, rather, enjoy luxuriating in their after effects; the safe shocks which are anything but trashy.

  • Richard Newton
    2019-03-26 01:19

    I have to admit to ignorance - I had not heard of Alice Munro until she was awarded the Nobel prize for literature. But having heard of her, I am glad I did as these are excellent short stories. It's difficult to decide whether to judge a book like this according to the best stories or the average. The average standard is very high, but inconsistent. Not everything is brilliant, although all are good. And amongst the stories are some truly 5 start gems such as The Bear Came Over the Mountain. You never feel as if the short story is an unsatisfying or truncated sort of book - these are all fully formed works of writing.I do not advise sitting down and reading this book end-to-end, as although all the stories are unique there is a commonality of tone and to a lesser extent theme. This is more a dip in and savour each story over time sort of book.

    2019-03-27 00:13

    داستان های زیبایی بودونکته بسیارجالب این که محوراصلی وسبک نوشتاری برپایه نامه ونامه نگاری است که برایم بسیارتازگی داشت.قطعابقیه آثارش راهم خواهم خواند

  • Barbara McEwen
    2019-04-19 03:55

    4.5 stars - The writing and characters are superb. Maybe I read too many sci-fi and thrillers but I kept anticipating crazy things were going to happen in some of the stories and they didn't. Great stuff even if you aren't getting a lot of action.

  • Simona
    2019-04-16 02:06

    Se oggi riesco ad apprezzare maggiormente il genere racconto è grazie soprattutto alla scrittura elegante e raffinata della Munro. Questa raccolta che raccoglie 17 racconti scelti personalmente dall'autrice sono un excursus del meglio della sua produzione. Le tematiche riscontrate sono quelle che i lettori della Munro hanno imparato con il tempo ad apprezzare. Le tematiche spaziano dall'essere se stessi alla sessualità sino alla religione. Le donne della Munro sono donne che cercano il loro equilibrio, la loro autenticità, anche nella disonestà, come ammette Georgia in "Diversamente" ("Autentico, ma disonesto"). Lasciatevi andare anche voi, spalancate cuore, mente e addentratevi in queste storie in cui la Munro ci legge dentro.

  • Julian Meynell
    2019-04-13 04:04

    I finally read Munro consumed by guilt at not having read the only Canadian author to ever win a Nobel Prize for literature. This is a collection of short stories covering her whole career. I was a bit leery of Munro because I thought that it would be all icy glances over the dishes. The stories are actually pretty much that kind of thing, but they are quite good.She writes well, although not really well. The third person pieces are more effective because she always writes in the same voice and that makes it seem that all the first person pieces are about the same characters. She writes very much about middle class problems in small towns. I found the whole to be less than the sum of its parts. While many of the stories are outstanding, she can get a bit samey and there is not really as much variety as there might be. I think she is good at short stories, but she would not make my top ten for short story writers. A lot of her writing is daring in a safe kind of way. For those who are Canadian, it is very much CBC Radio 1 writing and would appeal to that kind of crowd.She's good, but not really good and I am unlikely to read anymore. She's slightly overrated in the end.

  • JBedient
    2019-04-01 02:52

    The copy before me is from the library, such a pristine copy too, sad, since anything by Munro from any library should be tattered and dog-eared from the wear and tear of readers...But maybe the past patrons did the same thing I plan to do: I read five stories out of this collection and I decided, firmly and with conviction, to set this copy aside and purchase my own copy. This is a collection of stories to be savored for a lifetime. I could not believe the quality of the writing. The title story was jawdroppingly amazing. The prose was flawless and beautifully dense, and the characters were more alive than many characters inhabiting full-fledged novels. Without revealing the story, I'll just say that I was amazed by the somewhat hidden allegory Munro makes to the act of reading itself, and to the allegory on realities of the mind versus true reality. But even if those two points are missed, the story is still just as fantastic. Hell, it even works as kind of a sad romance if that's what you're looking for... but it's way more meatier than that. Okay, technically, I haven't read the book in it's entirety yet, but I assure I will soon... Highly Recommended, if just for the the title story...

  • Thebruce1314
    2019-04-15 04:01

    I admit to jumping on the bandwagon with this one. Munro won the Nobel prize and I - being Canadian, a fellow alumna of Western and a lover of literature - was embarrassed to say that I'd never read anything by her. At least that I could recall.I really enjoyed the first couple of stories in this collection, which followed the same characters. They were relatable, they lived in southwestern Ontario and inhabited the world of higher education. I liked that I could picture the setting, and it brought the characters to life for me. But the more I read, the more I began to get bored, and had to set the book down for long periods of time. I suppose short stories are meant to be enjoyed in small spurts, maybe reading this like a novel was not how it was intended to be consumed. In any case, reading several stories back-to-back made me realise that the majority of the main characters in these stories are very similar: female, middle-aged (or older) and unhappy in some way. The stories became depressing, and kind of predictable. Aren't there any happy middle-aged women who don't cheat on their husbands, or haven't been cheated on by their husbands, living in southwestern Ontario? I'm happy for Munro and her international prize. Maybe I'm missing something. It must be me.

  • hossein sharifi
    2019-03-26 04:17

    کتاب مجموعه سه داستان کوتاه یا بهتر بگم ناوِلت به نام های نفرت، دوستی، معاشقه مهورزی ازدواج 1دور افتاده 2و منزلگاهی در برهوت 3اولین باری بود که از آلیس مونرو میخوندم.. متن کتاب به خوبی ترجمه شده بود اما شیوه ی نگارش کتاب مورد علاقه من نبود و بشدت از خواندنش خسته شدم...نویسنده انگار در حال حرف زدن بود مث یه آدم وراج که همینجور حرف میزند و حرف میزندمنم خسته شدم و 40 صفحه آخر رو نخوندم و خیلی از صفحات رو رد کردماما توصیف های فوق العاده ای داشت ، جوری که انگار به تماشای یک فیلم نشسته ایدموضوعات کتابهای آلیس مونرو اغلب به مسائلی پیرامون خانواده و یا بلوغ و مشکلات زنانه..............در این کتب هم داستان اول پیرامون بلوغ و ازدواج بود.. و دیدی که افراد به زنی مسن دارند و یا این ناخردی و سادگی شخصیتی به نام یوهاناداستان دوم در مورد شخصی بود که علاقه مند کسی بود که به جنگ رفته بود و نامه مینوشت..اما هنگام برگشت از جنگ، زن متوجه شد که آن مرد نامزدی داشته و پس از برگشت به اجبار با اون ازدواج کرده.. هرچند که خودش امیدی به بازگشت نداشته..که شاید بمیرد در جنگ و مجبور به ازدواج نباشدیکبار خوندنش بد نیستنخوندین هم چیزی از دست ندادید :)

  • Penguin Random House Canada
    2019-04-18 03:51

    Alice! Is there anyone better? She was my introduction to short stories, and to Canadian literature. Her writing makes me pause on nearly every page and wonder how she can capture a relationship or an emotion as brilliantly as she does...and then I quickly devour the next page and am astounded all over again. Time, after time, after time…and oh, I’ve read these stories many times. I think this is my most-crinkle-paged book on the shelf, and maybe my most gifted book too (in fact, I handed it over rather aggressively as required Canadian reading to a friend who recently moved here from France.) This collection of seventeen stories chosen by Munro is arranged in the order they were written, so you can enjoy the evolution from one to the next…and then all over again. - Ashley Audrain, Director of Publicity

  • Oli Yerovi
    2019-04-07 22:06

    I admire the fact that the apparent ordinary existence can be intriguing in her stories and that I did picture the small town Canada living and feeling. But around 500 pages of short stories portraying females in some kind of distress was maybe too much to read all along. I suggest savour each story giving some time from one to another. There were some brilliant stories, which moved me deeply.

  • Peter Mendrela
    2019-04-13 00:06

    Prosaic Perfection!If I were given only two words to describe Alice Munro achievement “prosaic perfection” would have to be it.I admit it was thoroughly snobbish of me. It took my own citizenship, an eminent literature professor’s laudatory (and hortatory) analysis, and – as though these were not enough – a Nobel Prize to get to know and instantly becomeIf I were given only two words to describe Alice Munro achievement 'prosaic perfection' would have to be it.I admit it was thoroughly snobbish of me. It took my own Canadian citizenship, an eminent literature professor's laudatory (and hortatory) analysis, and ' as though these were not enough ' a Nobel Prize to get acquainted and instantly become besotted with Alice Munro's literary genius.Yes. Once I looked, it was love at first sight.'My Best Stories' is a mixed bag, but it is a potent mix. It commences with 'Royal Beatings' of a 'nine, ten, eleven, twelve' year-old Rosie. These all-too-common fatherly affections left such a bloody imprint on her psyche that even a master like Munro could not contain here to a single story. The 'Stories' continue pausing in 'Miles City, Montana' (perhaps the most philosophical pit stop in the collection) where a child's near-death experience forces a mother to an existential what-if blame game. 'Differently' is another story with a philosophical bend, but exploring alternate modus vivendi, one in which we and the people we truly care about were actually (not just conceptually) mortal, it aspires to applied rather than speculative philosophy. 'Wilderness Station' is a Cain and Able story with a twist and an axe that cuts deep into the future while 'Vandals' is a subtle but thoroughly disturbing sexual abuse story.The penultimate story in the collection, 'Runaway', is pure literary perfection. Yes, the prof that introduced me to Munro did so with this story, but, having finally read it, I must admit that do not think that reading a 400-page novel could engender as much emotional kerfuffle as Munro did in these mere 35 pages.The final story, 'The Bear that came over the Mountain', is unusual on two accounts. First (although it is about a woman) it is told from a man's perspective, and second, it is a quirky love story that depicts a woman who paradoxically finds her love only after having lost everything else, including her very self.These, it should be stated, are just my notable mentions each of which easily pays the price of admission to the entire collection. But note that, masterful plots and tabloid-worthy-life- shattering events are the least reasons you invest yourself in them.The Devil is in the Details:One of the first thing that strikes a reader about Munro's stories is her obsessive and fastidious attention to detail. 'The smell of cedar bush', a surreptitious look, 'a squashed leaf' or 'a Popsicle stick' matter to her because she knows that despite our ostensible fascination with tawdry extremism it is precisely these minute and seemingly insignificant details that weave any semblance of meaning into our otherwise meaningless lives.Free Will?:Reflecting back I see that the invocations of Spinoza in the 'Royal Beatings' which opens this collection might not have been wholly adventitious. The self-making, progressive, and free willing individuals we are taught to see ourselves as are the very pillars of a society where jurisprudence, morality, and progress are possible. But Munro courts the Spinoza-like notion that the forces which drive our actions are, essentially, alien to us; that self-help may be self-delusion, and that free will is nothing more than the past inexorably willing itself on to the present all the while feigning volition. It is, after all, this burden of history that drives the 'royally' abused Rosie to her future sadomasochistic tendencies in 'The Beggar Maid'; that engenders 'a tongue-tied' grandchildren to a murderous grandfather in the 'Wilderness Station', and that explains a seemingly inexplicable rampage of the saintly born-again Christians in 'Vandals'. As Georgia, a character in 'Differently', succinctly puts it: 'People make momentous shifts, but not the changes they imagine'. Indeed, 'shift' are not 'changes' but realizing this ' as Spinoza urges us to, understanding our limitations, and discovering the forces that surreptitiously force themselves on us maybe the only freedom we actually have. To put it another way (as the aforementioned stories suggest) while we may be products we are also producers - and herein lies the possibility of ethics.The Rosetta Stone to a Woman's Soul:Each story in the collection is its own, self-enclosed, moral arena. We may crave clarity, resolve, and moral rectitude but, much like in the world around us, there are not saints nor martyrs in Munro's universes. As their (re)creator she (and each of her characters) is profoundly moral but never moralizing.There is only one sacrosanct commandment that guides Munro's Promethean project: and that is to pour the ineffable essence a woman's soul on the page and allow the reader to taste and delight in it. It is - and I am not being hyperbolic - a well-neigh tactile experience and one would be a fool not to indulge in it.

  • Anna [Floanne]
    2019-04-20 02:09

    Questa è un'antologia di racconti tratti da varie opere della Munro e da lei scelti come i più rappresentativi del suo stile, che non più tardi di due anni fa, le ha permesso di essere insignita del meritatissimo Nobel per la Letteratura. Dare un giudizio unico e globale del libro in sé mi riusciva difficile, poiché è la prima volta che mi accosto a questa scrittrice e alla moltitudine di tematiche da lei indagate. Come spesso accade, alcuni brani mi hanno colpito maggiormente rispetto ad altri ma in tutti emerge la bravura nel rendere la complessità dell'animo umano attraverso un'attenta analisi della quotidianità e dei rapporti interpersonali, resa con un stile descrittivo ma al contempo asciutto e privo di abbellimenti. L'atmosfera di solitudine dei suoi personaggi mi ha ricordato moltissimo i quadri di Edward Hopper.Tra i miei racconti preferiti: (attenzione) (view spoiler)[ - "Botte da re" e "La mendicante": entrambi tratti da "Chi ti credi di essere?" hanno come protagonista Rose, dapprima ragazzina e poi studentessa universitaria, e la matrigna Flo. La Munro è bravissima, in poche righe, con estrema nitidezza ed un linguaggio fluido, a catturare immediatamente il lettore e trascinarlo nel turbine di sentimenti ed emozioni che animano dapprima l'adolescenza di Rose, caratterizzata dal suo rapporto burrascoso con Flo e, nel secondo racconto, la relazione tra Rose e il fidanzato Patrick. Voto: 4****- "Miles City, Montana": una famiglia e un viaggio in macchina che solo per un soffio non si trasforma in tragedia. Riflessioni sulla vita di coppia, sull'essere genitori responsabili (argomenti che sento molto miei in questo momento) raccontate con una tale lucidità e profondità da coinvolgere totalmente il lettore in quel viaggio e in quello specifico microcosmo che si trasforma, improvvisamente, da particolare in universale. Voto: 5*****- "Diversamente": amicizie e matrimoni che naufragano in tradimenti, dell'altro e di se stessi perché "La gente fa grandi cambiamenti, ma non sono mai quelli che si immagina." Voto: 4 ****- "Lasciarsi andare": il racconto che dà il titolo alla raccolta è forse quello mi è piaciuto di più. Molto riuscito l'inizio epistolare, coinvolge da subito. Anche qui, amori sfuggono nel presente per poi tornare, anni dopo, sotto forma di spettri e rimettere in discussione l'esistenza di Louise, le sue scelte e non scelte. Voto: 5 *****-"The bear came over the mountain": conclude magistralmente il tutto ma lo fa stravolgendo la prospettiva, che non è più quella femminile che permea quasi tutti i racconti. Stavolta la protagonista, Fiona, non può offrire una visione razionale degli eventi perché affetta da demenza senile. Emerge qui il problema della vecchiaia e la Munro sceglie allora di mostrarcelo con gli occhi di Grant, il marito che Fiona non riconosce più, ma che ciò nonostante cerca di tenere i piedi il loro matrimonio lottando contro l'oblio che avvolge i ricordi di Fiona. Indubbiamente il racconto più commovente. Voto: 4**** (hide spoiler)]

  • Ilse Wouters
    2019-04-04 04:07

    I was already a fan of Alice Munro´s excellent short stories and this collection is a wonderful way to enjoy them one by one... I had the collection at my bed side waiting for the right moment to read it. It has finally come! While reading a quite complex historical novel in Spanish, I felt I could "digest" it better when reading a short story from this collection between every two chapters of the Spanish book. It´s amazing what AM can say in a single short story, and maybe even more amazing is the reflection every story invites us to make. The first couple of short stories in the collection I found to be the ones I least had enjoyed, but they were still very good. In comparison to fellow Canadian Mavis Gallant, another excellent short story writer, who based most of her stories in Europe (France), I must say the stories - especially the most recent ones in this collection - , although they take place in environments and times completely different from mine, feel closer to my own realities, so the reflection they call for seems more intense.

  • Ben Winch
    2019-04-14 05:06

    I'm ashamed to say I didn't get to read all of these stories before I had to return them to the library (short stories, especially of 20 pages and up, being in a way harder to 'make time' for than novels because they should/must be read in one sitting), but from what I read they were excellent, especially 'The Moons of Jupiter'. That story has everything! Small-scale yet cosmic - by the end it just opens out like the roof peeling back from the observatory and leaves you gazing out at the 'shoreless seas' the narrator's dying father has taken to contemplating. After I'd read it, lying in the winter sun in the Sydney Botanic Gardens with the light sparkling on the water, I was left tingling, going over and over it in my head as I walked home and back to reality. Beyond that I don't feel qualified to comment on Alice Munro just yet, except to say the hype would seem to be justified, and that her prose - rigorous, precise, yet humble and natural-seeming into the bargain - is at first glance right up my alley. In just a few stories it made me think about English in ways I hadn't before, and that is a rare and precious thing. Maybe it'll require a more sedate or reflective lifestyle before I can do it properly, but you can bet I'll be looking further into the stories of Alice Munro.

  • Gail Amendt
    2019-04-04 03:15

    I first read Alice Munro for a university English course when I was eighteen, and I can't say that I cared for her writing very much. It seemed to be just a series of stories about nothing. When my book club decided to read this collection of her short stories, I wondered if 25+ years of maturity would increase my appreciation for her writing, and I'm happy to say that it has. Her stories are still about nothing...just about people living mundane lives going through fairly ordinary events. Her gift is her ability to understand human nature. Her stories are about relationships, inter-generational issues, societal changes and social class. Her writing is subtle, and she leaves us to figure things out. I didn't like that when I was eighteen and had to write a paper about the story, but I appreciate it more now. This is a collection of stories that the author herself has chosen from her lifetime's work. They are presented in the order that they were written, and we are able to see how her writing, and her characters, matured as she aged. I didn't care for all the stories in this collection, and am surprised that she considered some to be among her best work. I think I will have to read more of her short story collections sometime.

  • Cláudia
    2019-04-11 05:00

    Demorei um pouco a entrar no ritmo de Alice Munro, tenho de admitir. O primeiro conto pareceu-me bastante aborrecido e num livro de 600 e tal páginas, é bastante problemático começar com o pé errado. De qualquer maneira, nunca abandono um livro e dei uma oportunidade ao conto seguinte, que me surpreendeu bastante (acabando por ser o meu preferido de todo o livro). A sua escrita é bastante suave, fácil de ler, sem o uso exagerado de palavras complexas como costumamos ver em vencedores do prémio nobel. Sou da opinião que a escrita mais bela é mostrada na sua totalidade quando se escreve sem palavras "caras". Após ler este livro, é certo que não sou indiferente à autora e que vou de certeza ler mais obras dela.

  • Cid Medeiros
    2019-03-30 05:18

    By beautifully and insightfully telling displaced short stories, Munro ended up composing bigger ones. It felt like an old brain remembering its own existence through the recollection of scattered memories while her owner is drinking some hot beverage during some Canadian winter. Just like that: someone, somewhere in Canada, sometime... That lack of rigidness, while deconstructing the traditional line of time of reading novels, creates an organic and more natural telling stories experience: she does what we usually do when telling ourselves our own lives. No wonder that genius style took her the literature Nobel prize home.

  • Shannon
    2019-04-12 20:50

    I've always been a little skeptical of some people's passionate adoration of all things Munro, because I thought they might like the idea of her better than the actual stories. But after committing to this big ol' anthology of some of her best, I have to admit that I was wrong. She gets it so right sometimes that she made me feel a little exposed. Some of my favorites--The Beggar Maid, Vandals, Runaway.

  • Rachelheavers
    2019-04-26 02:58

    Wow.Margaret Atwood told me to read this book, in the introduction to this book, but it certainly didn't prepare me to like this book as much as I do. Alice Munro is the perfect women's author. There are people in my real life that I understand better because of the people she creates, dissects and explains in the not-real world of her stories. Wander through my day thinking about things I read the night before, the best possible endorsement.

  • Jill
    2019-04-01 04:55

    Alice Munro is simply the best contemporary short story writer. Each story is compelling and the characters fascinating. Plus many are set in 20th Century Ontario - a nice change from American settings.

  • Shannon Coates
    2019-04-11 21:55

    Incomparably beautifulEternally elegantPoignant

  • Antonia
    2019-04-01 04:59

    This type of literature is the opposite of my taste - I found Munro's writing too conservative and ordinary.

  • Shuriu
    2019-04-05 01:06

    "It did not occur to me then that one day I would be so greed for Jubilee. Voracious and misguided as Uncle Craig out at Jenkin's Bend, writing his history, I would want to write things down. I would try to make lists. A list of all the stores and businesses going up and down the main street and who owned them, a list of family names, names on the tombstones in the cemetery and any inscriptions underneath… The hope of accuracy we bring to such tasks is crazy, heartbreaking. And no list could ever hold what I wanted, for what I wanted was every last thing, every layer of speech and thought, stroke of light on bark or walls, every smell, pothole, pain, crack, delusion, held still and held together -- radiant, everlasting." (p. xiii)"People's lives … were dull, simple, amazing and unfathomable." (p. xiv) At the same time her writer protagonists share this scorn of the artificial side of art, and the distrust of it. What should be written about? How should one write? How much of art is genuine, how much just a cheap bag of tricks -- imitating people, manipulating their emotions, making faces? How can one affirm anything about another person -- even a made-up person -- without presumption? Above all, how should a story end? (Munro often provides one ending, then questions or revises it. Or else she simply distrusts it, as in the final paragraph of "Meneseteung" where the narrator says, "I may have got it wrong.") (p. xvi)Munro's artistic characters are punished for not succeeding, but they are also punished for success. (p. xvi) The battle for authenticity is waged most significantly in the field of sex. The Munro social world -- like most societies in which silence and secrecy are the norm in sexual matters -- carries a high erotic charge, and this charge extends like a neon penumbra around each character, illuminating landscapes, rooms, and objects. A rumpled bed says more, in the hands of Munro, than any graphic in-out, in-out depiction of genitalia ever could. Even if a story is not primarily about a love affair or a sexual encounter, men and women are always aware of one another as men and women, positively or negatively, recognizing sexual attraction and curiosity or else sexual revulsion. Women are immediately attuned to the sexual power of other women, and are wary of it, or envious. Men show off and preen and flirt and seduce and compete. (p. xvii)For older women like Lily and Marjorie, to enjoy sex would have been a humiliating defeat. For women like Rose, in "The Beggar Maid," it's a matter of pride and celebration, a victory. For later generations of women -- post Sexual Revolution -- enjoying sex was to become simply a duty, the perfect orgasm yet another thing to add to the list of required accomplishments; and when enjoyment becomes a duty, we're back in the land of "dreariness of spirit." (p. xviii)In a story called "Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You," jealous Et describes her sister's former lover -- a promiscuous ladies' man -- and the look he gives to every woman, a look "that made him seem to want to be a deep-sea diver diving down, down through all the emptiness and cold and wreckage to discover the one thing he had set his heart on, something small and precious, hard to locate, as a ruby maybe on the ocean floor." (p. xx) She could not turn Patrick down. She could not do it. It was not the amount of money but the amount of love he offered that she could not ignore; she believed that she felt sorry for him, that she had to help him out. It was as if he had come up to her in a crowd carrying a large, simple, dazzling object -- a huge egg, maybe, of solid silver, something of doubtful use and punishing weight -- and was offering it to her, in fact thrusting it at her, begging her to take some of the weight off him. If she thrust it back, how could he bear it? But that explanation left something out. It left out her own appetite, which was not for wealth but for worship. The size, the weight, the shine, of what he said was love (and she did not doubt him) had to impress her, even though she had never asked for it. It did not seem likely such an offering would come her way again. Patrick himself, though worshipful, did in some oblique way acknowledge her luck. She had always thought that this would happen, that somebody would look at her and love her totally and helplessly. At the same time she had thought that nobody would, nobody would want her at all, and up until now nobody had. What made you wanted was nothing you did, it was something you had, and how could you ever tell whether you had it? (p. 41)"Beggar Maid" Then she had a compelling picture of herself. She was running softly into Patrick's carrel, she was throwing her arms around him from behind, she was giving everything back to him. Would he take it from her, would he still want it? She saw them laughing and crying, explaining, forgiving…. This was a violent temptation for her; it was barely resistible. She had an impulse to hurl herself. Whether it was off a cliff or into a warm bed of welcoming grass and flowers, she really could not tell. It was not resistible, after all. She did it. (p. 60) …it was really vanity, it was vanity pure and simple, to resurrect him, to bring him back his happiness. To see if she could do that. She could not resist such a test of power. (p. 61) What she never said to anybody, never confide, was that she sometimes thought it had not been pity or greed or cowardice or vanity but something quite different, like a vision of happiness. In view of everything else she had told she could hardly tell that. It seems very odd; she can't justify it. She doesn't mean that they had perfectly ordinary, bearable times in their marriage, long busy stretches of wallpapering and vacationing and meals and shopping and worrying about a child's illness, but that sometimes, without reason or warning, happiness, the possibility of happiness, would surprise them. Then it was as if they were in a different though identical-seeming skins, as if there existed a radiantly kind and innocent Rose and Patrick, hardly ever visible, in the shadow of their usual selves. (p. 62) She hurried away then, down the long varicolored corridor, shaking. She had seen Patrick; Patrick had seen her; he had made that face. But she was not really able to understand how she could be an enemy. How could anybody hate Rose so much, at the very moment when she was ready to come forward with her good will, her smiling confession of exhaustion, her air of diffident faith in civilized overtures? (p. 64)"The Turkey Season" I was interested in how he talked to Gladys, how he looked at or noticed her. This interest was not jealousy. I think I wanted something to happen with them. I quivered in curious expectation, as Lily and Marjorie did. We all waited to se the flicker of sexuality in him, hear it in his voice, not because we thought it would make him seem more like other men but because we knew that with him it would be entirely different. He was kinder anymore patient than most women, and as stern and remote, in some ways, as any man. We wanted to see how he could be moved. (p. 71-72)I could become enraged then at the lack of logic in most adults' talk -- the way they held to their pronouncements no matter what evidenced might be presented to them. How could these women's hands be so gifted, so delicate and clever -- for I knew they would be good at dozens of other jobs as they were at gutting; they would be good at quilting and darning and painting and papering and kneading dough and setting out seedlings -- and their thinking was so slapdash, clumsy, infuriating? (p. 73)Isn't it true that people like Herb -- dignified, secretive, honorable people -- will often choose somebody like Brian, will waste their helpless love on some vicious, silly person who is not even evil, or a monster, but just some importunate nuisance? I decided that Herb, with all his gentleness an carefulness, was avenging himself on us all -- not just on Gladys but on us all -- with Brian, and that what he was feeling when I studied his face must have been a savage and gleeful scorn. But embarrassment as well -- embarrassment for Brian and for himself and for Gladys, and to some degree for all of us. Shame for all of us -- that is what I thought then. Later still, I backed off from this explanation. I got to a stage of backing off from the things I couldn't really know. It's enough for me now just to think of Herb's face with that peculiar, stricken look; to think of Brian monkeying in the shade of Herb's dignity; to think of my own mystified concentration on Herb, my need to catch him out, if I could ever get the chance, and then move in and stay close to him. How attractive, how delectable, the prospect of intimacy is, with the very person who will never grant it. I can still feel the pull of a man like that, of his promising and refusing. I would still like to know things. Never mind facts. Never mind theories, either. (p. 80-81)"The Moons of Jupiter"This was what I would have expected of him. Whenever I told people about my father I stressed his independence, his self-sufficiency, his forbearance. He worked in a factory, he worked in his garden, he read history books. He could tell you about the Roman emperors or the Balkan wars. He never made a fuss. (p. 86) "Did Nichola not want to see me?" I said to Judith. "She doesn't want to see anybody, half the time," she said. Judith moved ahead and touched Don's arm. I knew that touch -- an apology, an anxious reassurance. You touch a man that way to remind him that you are grateful, that you realize he is doing for your sake something that bores him or slightly endangers his dignity. It made me feel older than grandchildren would to see my daughter touch a man -- a boy -- in this way. I felt her sad jitters, could predict her supple intentions. (p. 89)"Miles City, Montana" As for me, I was happy because of the shedding. I loved taking off. In my own house, I seemed to be often looking for a place to hide -- sometimes from the children but more often from the jobs to be done and the phone ringing and the sociability of the neighborhood. I wanted to hide so that I could get busy at my real work, which was a sort of wooing of distant parts of myself. I lived in a state of siege, always losing just what I wanted to hold onto to. (p. 135) I loved helping Meg to dress or undress, because her body still had the solid unselfconsciousness, the sweet indifference, something of the milky smell, of a baby's body. Cynthia's body had long pared down, shaped and altered, into Cynthia. We all liked to hug Meg, press and nuzzle her. Sometimes she would scowl and beat us off, and this forthright independence, this ferocious bashfulness, simply made her more appealing, more apt to be tormented and tickled in the family way of love. (p.147)"Friend of My Youth" I recovered then what in waking life I had lost -- my mother's liveliness of face and voice before her throat muscles stiffened and a woeful, impersonal mask fastened itself over her features. How could I have forgotten this, I would think in the dream -- the casual humor he had, not ironic but merry, the lightness and impatience and confidence? (p. 155)My mother had grown up in a time and in a place where sex was a dark undertaking for women. She knew that you could die of it. So she honored the decency, the prudery, the frigidity, that might protect you. And I grew up in the horror of that very protection, the dainty tyranny that seemed to me to extend to all areas of lie, to enforce tea parties and white gloves and al other sorts of tinkling inanities. I favored bad words and a breakthrough, I teased myself with the thought of a man's recklessness and domination. The odd thing is that my mother's ideas were in line with some progressive notions of her times, and mine echoed the notes that were favored in my time. This in spite of the fact that we both believed ourselves independent, and lived in backwaters that did not register such changes. It's as if tendencies that seem most deeply rooted in our minds, most private and singular, have come in as spores on the prevailing wind, looking for any likely place to land, any welcome. (p. 174-175)"Meneseteung" One thing that she has noticed about married women, and that is how many of them go about creating their husbands. They have to start ascribing preferences, opinions, dictatorial ways. Oh, yes, they say, my husband is very particular. He won't touch turnips. He won't eat fried meat. (Or he will only eat fried meat.) He likes me to wear blue (brown) all the time. He can't stand organ music. He hates to see a woman go out bareheaded. He would kill me if I took one puff of tobacco. This way, bewildered, sidelong-looking men are made over, made into husbands, heads of households. Almeda Roth cannot imagine herself doing that. She wants a man who doesn't have to be made, who is firm already and determined and mysterious to her. She does not look for companionship. Men -- except for her father -- seem to her deprived in some way, incurious. No doubt that is necessary, so that they will do what they have to do. Would she herself, knowing that there was salt in the earth, discover how to get it out and sell it? Not likely. She would be thinking about the ancient sea. That kind of speculation is what Jarvis Poulter has, quite properly, no time for. (p. 189)"Differently" She had entered with Ben, when they were both so young, a world of ceremony, of safety, of gestures, concealment. Fond appearances. More than appearances. Fond contrivance. (She thought when she left that she would have no use for contrivance anymore.) She had been happy there, from time to time. She had been sullen, restless, bewildered, and happy. But she said most vehemently, Never, never. I was never happy, she said. People always say that. People make momentous shifts, but no the changes they imagine. (p. 228)"The Albanian Virgin"She plugged up the wound with a paste made of beeswax and olive oil and pine resin. Several times a day the dressing was removed, the wound washed out with raki. (p. 277) But I was not despondent. I had made a desperate change in my life, and in spite of the regrets I suffered every day, I was proud of that. I felt as if I had finally come out into the world in a new, true skin. Sitting at the desk, I made a cup of coffee or of thin red soup last an hour, clasping my hands around the cup while there was still any warmth to be got from it. I read, but without purpose or involvement. I read stray sentences from the books that I had always meant to read. Often these sentences seemed satisfying to me, or so elusive and lovely, that I could not help abandoning all the surrounding words and giving myself up to a peculiar state. I was alert and dreamy, closed off from all particular people but conscious all the time of the city itself -- which seemed a strange place. (p. 300)People open shops in order to sell things, they hope to become busy so that they will have to enlarge the shop, then to sell more things, and grow rich, and eventually not have to come into the shop at all. Isn't that true? But are there other people who open a shop with the hope of being sheltered there, among such things as they most value -- the yarn or the teacups or the books -- and with the idea only of making a comfortable assertion? They will become a part of the block, a part of the street, part of everybody's map of the town, and eventually everybody's memories. They will sit and drink coffee in the middle of the morning, they will get out the familiar bits of tinsel at Christmas, they will wash the windows in spring before spreading out the new stock. Shops, to these people, are what a cabin in the woods might be somebody else -- a refuge and justification. (p. 301)A dermatologist sees grief and despair, though the problems that bring people to him may not be in the same class as tumors and blocked arteries. He sees sabotage from within, and truly unlucky fate. He sees how matters like love and happiness can be governed by a patch of riled-up cells. Experience of this sort had made Donald kind, in a cautious, impersonal way. He said that my rash was probably due to stress, and that he could see that I was going to be a wonderful woman, once I got a few problems under control. (p. 303-304)In a letter he wrote to me later, he said that he had never thought of this woman except as a friend until that night, when it suddenly dawned on him what a pleasure it would be to love a kind and sensible, unwracked-up sort of person. (p. 306)"Vandals" For Be a there was nothing like this -- nothing like watching a man work at some hard job, when he is forgetful of you and works well, in a way that is tidy and rhythmical, nothing like it to heat the blood. There was no waste about Ladner, no extra size or unnecessary energy and certainly no elaborate conversation. (p. 365) Other things she had to learn concerned what he would say and wouldn't say. It seemed she had to be cured of all her froth and vanity and all her old notions of love…. She learned, she changed. Age was a help to her…. And when he got used to her, or felt safe from her, his feelings took a turn for the better. He talked to her readily about what he was interested in and took a kinder comfort from her body. On the night before the operation they lay side by side on the strange bed, with all available bare skin touching -- legs, arms, haunches. (p. 369)"The Bear Came over the Mountain"The had usually prepared supper together. One of them made the drinks and the other the fire, and they talked about his work (he was writing a study of legendary Norse wolves and particularly of the great ferns wold who swallows up Odin at the end of the world) and about whatever Fiona was reading and what they had been thinking during their close but separate day. This was their time of liveliest intimacy, though there was also, of course, the fire or ten minutes of physical sweetness just after they got into bed -- something that did not often end up in sex but reassured them that sex was not over yet. (p. 521) But she'd had the jitters when she made the first move. She had put herself at risk. How much of herself, he could not yet tell. Generally a woman's vulnerability increased as time went on, as things progress. All you could tell at the start was that if there was an edge of it now, there'd be more later. (p. 536)

  • Brynn
    2019-03-30 00:09

    The collection I read is called "My Best Stories", a Penguin edition published in 2006. It doesn't seem to exist under that title here and I'm confused as to if it's actually just this one. It seems like it is, in which case I don't know why mine isn't called it. Either way, this review is for 17 of Alice Munro's short stories.This. Writing. Is. Fucking. Extraordinary.Usually when you see the reviews included in the first few pages of a book you can be reasonably sure that there's at least a little bit of exaggeration in them - they want to sell you the thing you're holding, after all, so of course there will be. One of the review quotes included in my copy reads: "Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America." When you see praise like that your first reaction is usually to tsk and shake your head. I know you want me to buy the book, but please. But then, of course, I actually got to reading the book, and I think that quote is an understatement. I think Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best writer of fiction, ever. I say this as someone who is despicably hard on books. I'm shit to buy them for, my family tells me. My expectations aren't reasonable at all, they haven't been reasonable for maybe 4 years, at least. I don't actually want to be a pretentious asshat, but it's too late, I've crossed over, I'm done - all I can digest is this sort of devastatingly good crap, the sort of crap that floods your mind and takes you over, leaves you shivering on the floor crushed by the impossible tragedy of your own life, and everyone else's lives, and everything more broadly speaking, generally - that's what Alice Munro's writing does, to me. I'm sitting here at one in the morning - an appropriate time to finish books, I think - sick with the overwhelming fact of my and the rest of the world's existence. Because that's what this writing is: an absolutely terrifying conjuration of reality, presented to you in flashes of the breathlessly, impossibly true. How she can pull the essence of regular people out of themselves and into her words I do not know; how she can hold you there riveted and exhausted while bombarding you with the faces and voices of people you certainly have already met, I do not know. But she does it, and I really do think the best way to describe it is terrifying. It's terrifying. It's also mind-bendingly unpretentious. It should be pretentious because it's that "sort" of writing - but it so powerfully isn't. It's just people - terrifying because it's just people, and we're terrifying. But it's not presented that way, and I think that makes it worse, even. She just moulds reality into words, like I said, and then you're faced with it, and it's everything at once: joyful and wonderful, confusing, inexpressibly sad. Devastating. You get the sense of impossible compassion without judgment. More than anything it's the understanding. A keen awareness of everything about people and about life, and I find that, while at the same time scary in its truthfulness, also difficultly comforting. I guess it's comforting because, and I had this thought once in the middle of the volume, that All right: if someone else's experience of reality is this, and my experience of reality is also this, then that must mean I'm not insane. Maybe that's why we read fiction like this: just to reassure ourselves that we are not insane. That there's some common thread of awareness connecting people to people. We can pick out the same things, feel the same way. The way I feel about this is how you feel about this - thank God. That comforts me, but I'm always on the precipice of thinking I've gone crazy, so maybe that's partly why. It's devastating. I'll keep saying it, I don't care. I'm here in the middle of the night completely devastated. (The collection ended with The Bear Came Over the Mountain, so of course I am). But I like feeling that way. I do. As with anything, there's a relief that comes in the facing of the truly terrifying - and that relief is something else I think I'm always searching for.