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Hateship, friendship, courtship, loveship, marriage : stories
Alice Munro
Adult Fiction MUNRO

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From Publishers' Weekly:

A writer of Munro's ilk hardly needs a hook like the intriguing title of her 10th collection to pull readers into her orbit. Serving as a teasing introduction to these nine brilliantly executed tales, the range of mentioned relationships merely suggests a few of the nuances of human behavior that Munro evokes with the skill of a psychological magician. Johanna Parry, the protagonist of the title story, stands alone among her fictional sisters in achieving her goal by force of will. A rough, uneducated country girl, blatantly plain ("her teeth were crowded into the front of her mouth as if they were ready for an argument"), she seems doomed to heartbreak because of a teenager's trick, but the bracingly ironic denouement turns the reader's dire expectations into glee. The women in the other stories generally cannot control their fate. Having finally been reunited with the soul mate of her youth, the narrator of "Nettles" discovers that apparently benevolent fate can be cruel. In a similar moment of perception that signals the end of hope, Lorna in "Post and Beam" realizes that she is condemned to a life of submission to her overbearing, supercilious husband; ironically, her frowsy country cousin envies Lorna's luck in escaping their common origin. In nearly every story, there's a contrast between the behavior and expectations of country people and those who have made it to Toronto or Vancouver. Regardless of situation, however, the basics of survival are endured in stoic sorrow. Only the institutionalized wife of a philanderer in "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" manages to outwit her husband, and she has to lose her sanity to do it. All of the stories share Munro's characteristic style, looping gracefully from the present to the past, interpolating vignettes that seem extraneous and bringing the strands together in a deceptively gentle windup whose impact takes the breath away. Munro has few peers in her understanding of the bargains women make with life and the measureless price they pay. (Nov.) Forecast: Munro's collections are true modern classics, as the 75,000 first printing of her latest attests. Expect vigorous sales. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

From Library Journal:

Each of these nine stories is at once poignant, harsh, funny, melancholy, ironic, and dramatic, descriptions that in the end fall short of bringing their true flavor home. Munro is a lion of Canadian literature, often setting her tales in Ontario and British Columbia, where she lives, but the themes are universal and the characters Everyperson. The Bohemian aunt, the suicide with ALS, the terminally ill woman who is not so sure a new and hopeful diagnosis is welcome, the adulterer, the abandoned lover, the infatuated, the lonely, the bewildered, the old and young, all find a place in these complex works. The program is very well read by Kymberly Dakin in the perfect light and somewhat wistful voice. More of a break between stories would be helpful perhaps even the usually irritating musical interlude. Munro should be represented in all but the most superficial collections, and this audiobook would be an excellent addition to any library. Harriet Edwards, East Meadow P.L., NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.

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