The View from Castle Rock
By Alice Munro
(Knopf, Hardcover, 9781400042821, 368pp.)
Publication Date: November 7, 2006
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A powerful new collection from one of our most beloved, admired, and honored writers.
In stories that are more personal than any that she’s written before, Alice Munro pieces her family’s history into gloriously imagined fiction. A young boy is taken to Edinburgh’s Castle Rock, where his father assures him that on a clear day he can see America, and he catches a glimpse of his father’s dream. In stories that follow, as the dream becomes a reality, two sisters-in-law experience very different kinds of passion on the long voyage to the New World; a baby is lost and magically reappears on a journey from an Illinois homestead to the Canadian border.
Other stories take place in more familiar Munro territory, the towns and countryside around Lake Huron, where the past shows through the present like the traces of a glacier on the landscape and strong emotions stir just beneath the surface of ordinary comings and goings. First love flowers under the apple tree, while a stronger emotion presents itself in the barn. A girl hired as summer help, and uneasy about her “place” in the fancy resort world she’s come to, is transformed by her employer’s perceptive parting gift. A father whose early expectations of success at fox farming have been dashed finds strange comfort in a routine night job at an iron foundry. A clever girl escapes to college and marriage.
Evocative, gripping, sexy, unexpected—these stories reflect a depth and richness of experience. The View from Castle Rock is a brilliant achievement from one of the finest writers of our time.
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published eleven new 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; The Love of a Good Woman; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; Runaway; and a volume of Selected Stories—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 two of its Giller Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England’s W. H. Smith Book Award, the United States’ National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Edward MacDowell Medal in literature. 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.
Praise for The View From Castle Rock
“Break[s] every rule ever taught in a writing seminar, setting up a master class along the sidelines . . . Yet it shows, as usual, how to draw gasps from other writers by defying the laws of gravitas as effortlessly as Michael Jordan defied those of gravity.” —Pico Iyer, Newsweek Magazine
“Sublime . . . Late in her career, and late in life, Alice Munro seems unencumbered by the laurels heaped upon her. She continues to charge forward, shining a light on what is most fearsome and true.” —Jennifer Haigh, Chicago Tribune
“In her astonishing new collection, Munro delves into the past . . . Result: a far-ranging, richly symphonic suite of stories that outshines even Munro’s earlier masterworks.”
—Michael Upchruch, The Seattle Times
“Munro is the illusionist whose trick can never be exposed. And that is because there is no smoke, there are no mirrors. Munro really does know magic: how to summon the spirits and the emotions that animate our lives.” —Geraldine Brooks, the front page of The Washington Post Book World