By Alice Munro
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400042814, 352pp.)
Publication Date: October 26, 2004
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In Alice Munro’s superb new collection, we find stories about women of all ages and circumstances, their lives made palpable by the subtlety and empathy of this incomparable writer.
The runaway of the title story is a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband. In “Passion,” a country girl emerging into the larger world via a job in a resort hotel discovers in a single moment of stunning insight the limits and lies of that mysterious emotion. Three stories are about a woman named Juliet–in the first, she escapes from teaching at a girls’ school into a wild and irresistible love match; in the second she returns with her child to the home of her parents, whose life and marriage she finally begins to examine; and in the last, her child, caught, she mistakenly thinks, in the grip of a religious cult, vanishes into an unexplained and profound silence. In the final story, “Powers,” a young woman with the ability to read the future sets off a chain of events that involves her husband-to-be and a friend in a lifelong pursuit of what such a gift really means, and who really has it.
Throughout this compelling collection, Alice Munro’s understanding of the people about whom she writes makes them as vivid as our own neighbors. Here are the infinite betrayals and surprises of love–between men and women, between friends, between parents and children–that are the stuff of all our lives. It is Alice Munro’s special gift to make these stories as vivid and real as our own.
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published ten previous collections of stories–Dance of the Happy Shades; Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You; The Beggar Maid; The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; Friend of My Youth; Open Secrets; her Selected Stories; The Love of a Good Woman; and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage–as well as a novel, Lives of Girls and Women. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including three of Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards and its Giller Prize, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England’s W. H. Smith Book Award, and the United States’ National Book Critics Circle Award. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages.
Alice Munro and her husband divide their time between Clinton, Ontario, near Lake Huron, and Comox, British Columbia.
Alice Munro’s Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; The Love of a Good Woman; Selected Stories; Open Secrets; The Progress of Love; and Lives of Girls and Women are available in Vintage paperback.