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Collections of short stories often follow a similar qualitative pattern The best ones are positioned early on and then towards the end there s a couple of rather uninspired fillers Not the case here at all All eight stories are equally inspired and compelling In fact, the last story is particularly haunting It s called Vandals and epitomises Munro s method and genius First of all, her stories always containthan one story It s like she lets us see her characters from one perspective Collections of short stories often follow a similar qualitative pattern The best ones are positioned early on and then towards the end there s a couple of rather uninspired fillers Not the case here at all All eight stories are equally inspired and compelling In fact, the last story is particularly haunting It s called Vandals and epitomises Munro s method and genius First of all, her stories always containthan one story It s like she lets us see her characters from one perspective and then suddenly brings in a new perspective to turn everything on its head In Vandals we are introduced to Bea, a rather vain woman who prides herself on her ability to catch the eye of men Bea provides some brilliant insights into sexual relationships, especially when she meets a rugged loner of a man and falls for him She would hate to think that she had gone after Ladner because he was rude and testy and slightly savage, with the splotch on the side of his face that shone like metal in the sunlight coming through the trees She would hate to think so, because wasn t that the way in all the dreary romances some brute gets the woman tingling and then it s goodbye to Mr.Fine and Decent No, she wrote, but what she did think and she knew that this was very regressive and bad form what she did think was that some women, women like herself, might always be on the lookout for an insanity that would contain them For what was living with a man if it wasn t living inside his insanity But this story turns out not to be about Bea and Ladner but about a young girl Alex Ladner befriended when she was a child And when Alex goes to Ladner s home after his death to turn off the water her behaviour is mad until we learn about a side of Ladner Bea has either missed or chosen to overlook Munro is brilliant at unravelling the complex psychology of young women on the verge of decisive decisions In another story Rhea is told by a thoroughly unattractive young man that she is ugly, an idea that has never occurred to her before and which magnetises her to this man How else can she contradict this subversive idea Basically every story in this collection contains brilliant writing, fabulous insights, fully formed worlds and fantastic female characters 4.5 starsThis is my sixth volume of Munro stories and she has yet to disappoint me Her stories are as dense and deep as the best of novels In Dear Life it was the themes I fell for here, though the characters and plots are very strong, it s the sense of place Munro found her own little postage stamp of native soil thank you, Mr Faulkner in Carstairs, Ontario, though not all the stories are restricted to that one place.I was left breathless by the first story, Carried Away , probably my 4.5 starsThis is my sixth volume of Munro stories and she has yet to disappoint me Her stories are as dense and deep as the best of novels In Dear Life it was the themes I fell for here, though the characters and plots are very strong, it s the sense of place Munro found her own little postage stamp of native soil thank you, Mr Faulkner in Carstairs, Ontario, though not all the stories are restricted to that one place.I was left breathless by the first story, Carried Away , probably my favorite and devastated by the final one, Vandals , which could ve turned maudlin but most definitely did not In between, we are treated and I do mean treated to the stories of sixwomen many left motherless at a young age some ahead of their time and most of their place in that time The one story I was disconcerted by The Jack Randa Hotel felt out of place to me, but I now realize that was probably intentional, as Gail is an outsider by deed and by nature Ms Munro, you are a genius I finished this about a month ago and, to be honest, don t now remember much about it It struck me as competent and interesting rather than exciting and brilliant I don t know much about Alice Munro and for all I know she might have written much better books and I chose a dud So, I ll probably give her another chance further down the line Her central characters in this collection, predominantly female, all seemed to occupy that hinterland between urban and rural, not quite feeling at home in I finished this about a month ago and, to be honest, don t now remember much about it It struck me as competent and interesting rather than exciting and brilliant I don t know much about Alice Munro and for all I know she might have written much better books and I chose a dud So, I ll probably give her another chance further down the line Her central characters in this collection, predominantly female, all seemed to occupy that hinterland between urban and rural, not quite feeling at home in either world It s a bit of an old fashioned perspective and Alice Munro did strike me as a rather old fashioned writer at times Muriel Spark, for example, seems muchcontemporary despite being two generations older She uses a Russian doll technique of layering in stories within the stories which was interesting as an idea but often lacked something in the execution An interesting story sometimes led into something less compelling like the electrifying appearance of an exotic couple in a mundane backwater which gives way to a narrative about an English woman who gets lost in Albania and ends up joining a primitive tribe there which I found rather absurd from start to finish She s the very devil, is Ms Munro.Wicked.Those words.Words that lodge in a girl s mind and clear a precarious space there with a light buzz around it I d like to fuck you if you weren t so uglyShe was not ugly She knew she was not ugly How can you ever be sure that you are not ugly Rhea finds a way to be sure She marries the man Spaceships have Landed Or there s Liza.Such a wicked girl, Liza.Oh, she may have turned Christian, but she s a wild one When Bea phones from Toronto where Ladner B She s the very devil, is Ms Munro.Wicked.Those words.Words that lodge in a girl s mind and clear a precarious space there with a light buzz around it I d like to fuck you if you weren t so uglyShe was not ugly She knew she was not ugly How can you ever be sure that you are not ugly Rhea finds a way to be sure She marries the man Spaceships have Landed Or there s Liza.Such a wicked girl, Liza.Oh, she may have turned Christian, but she s a wild one When Bea phones from Toronto where Ladner Bea s man is waiting for a heart bypass to ask Liza to check the pipes it s February , Liza goes to their house, yes With devilish purpose in her wild heart Bea and Ladner and Liza A triangle, it seems A classic triangle But Ms Munro wreaks havoc with the classic Bea has decided on Ladner because he displays that raw wildness, you know, the animal sensuality that speaks to a woman s image of herself But beware, Bea The animals are all stuffed, dead and stuffed and mounted She would hate to think that she had gone after Ladner because he was rude and testy and slightly savage, with the splotch on the side of his face that shone like metal in the sunlight coming through the trees She would hate to think so, because wasn t that the way in all the dreary romances some brute gets the woman tingling and then it s goodbye to Mr.Fine and Decent No, she wrote, but what she did think and she knew that this was very regressive and bad form what she did think was that some women, women like herself, might always be on the lookout for an insanity that would contain them For what was living with a man if it wasn t living inside his insanity And Liza As a girl Liza lived opposite Ladner She and her brother would visit, and watch, and help, and learn Liza knew about birds, trees, mushrooms, fossils, the solar system She knew where certain rocks came from and that the swelling on a goldenrod stem contains a little white worm that can live nowhere else in the world She knew not to talk so much about all she knew.It s so quietly done Liza knows too much She has experienced a little tingling of her own There are places where Liza thinks there is a bruise on the ground, a tickling and shame in the grass Where there has been a bit of rub a dub dub Liza sees Ladner making fun of Bea behind her back, imitating her He was doing what she was doing but in a sillier, ugly way He was most intentionally and insistently making a fool of her See how vain she is, said Ladner s angular prancing See what a fake Pretending not to be afraid of the deep water, pretending to be happy, pretending not to know how we despise her.This was thrilling and shocking Liza s face was trembling with her need to laugh Part of her wanted to make Ladner stop, stop at once, before the damage was done, and part of her longed for that very damage, the damage Ladner could do, the ripping open, the final delight of it.So Liza needs Bea to keep her safe safe from Ladner, safe from herself Bea could spread safety, if she wanted to Surely she could All that is needed is for her to turn herself into a different sort of woman, a hard and fast, draw the line sort, clean sweeping, energetic, and intolerant None of that Not allowed Be good The woman who could rescue them who could make them all, keep them all, good What Bea has been sent to do, she doesn t see.Only Liza sees.Revenge is a dish best eaten cold Vandals One of the most delightful things about Munro s writing is how economically she can build a character The first line of A Real Life A man came along and fell in love with Dorrie Beck At least, he wanted to marry her It was true.Already there s a sense of her a good solid name like Dorrie Beck The astonishment that any man would consider her And then over the page She was a big, firm woman with heavy legs, chestnut brown hair, a broad bashful face, and dark freckles like dots of velvet A man in the area had named a horse after her.That just makes me roar inside Alice Munro makes me roar inside 2.5 stars I read Dear Life a couple years back and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I d been meaning to readof Munro s work since I picked up a copy of this one in Canada seems fitting when I was there earlier this month And sadly it was pretty disappointing None of the stories were flat out bad, but they weren t very memorable Even now having just finished the collection after reading it for the last week or so, nothing stands out to me I don t expect to love every story in a collection, 2.5 stars I read Dear Life a couple years back and thoroughly enjoyed it, so I d been meaning to readof Munro s work since I picked up a copy of this one in Canada seems fitting when I was there earlier this month And sadly it was pretty disappointing None of the stories were flat out bad, but they weren t very memorable Even now having just finished the collection after reading it for the last week or so, nothing stands out to me I don t expect to love every story in a collection, but I usually have a couple that stick with me and are worth recommending Not so in this case I will still tryMunro in the future, but I m not rushing to get to them On Tuesday morning, while Frances was getting breakfast and Maureen was helping her husband to finish dressing, there was a knock at the front door, by someone who did not notice or trust the bell.I love sentences like that, ones that stop me, draw me in ones that introduce, define, portend Alice Munro can not help herself from writing sentences like that, inventing such people.Like this When Bea spoke of having had a checkered career, she was taking a sarcastic or disparaging tone that did no On Tuesday morning, while Frances was getting breakfast and Maureen was helping her husband to finish dressing, there was a knock at the front door, by someone who did not notice or trust the bell.I love sentences like that, ones that stop me, draw me in ones that introduce, define, portend Alice Munro can not help herself from writing sentences like that, inventing such people.Like this When Bea spoke of having had a checkered career, she was taking a sarcastic or disparaging tone that did not reflect what she really felt about her life of love affairs.love affairs were the main content of her life, and she knew that she was not being honest when she belittled them They were sweet, they were sour she was happy in them, she was miserable She knew what it was to wait in a bar for a man who never showed up To wait for letters, to cry in public, and on the other hand to be pestered by a man she no longer wanted She had been obliged to resign from the Light Opera Society because of a fool who directed baritone solos at her But still she felt the first signal of a love affair like the warmth of the sun on her skin, like music through a doorway, or the moment, as she had often said, when the black and white television commercial bursts into color She did not think that her time had been wasted She did not think it had been wasted Written earlier I m not done and this is not a review Pay no attention to the page counter because I go back and forth in short story collections and almost never read in order.Just pausing to report that one story in particular, The Wilderness Station, is so good everyone should stop whatever you are doing and read this This is brilliantly epistolary, about an older time and place but maybe not so much and about a mid 19th century woman named Annie McKillop She is delightfully unreliable Somewhere, Munro is still smiling at the memory of this creation My first Munro A good thing A bad thing I acquired her books before the Nobel Prize pronouncement, but only got around to reading them after I m the sort that often needs to be led by the nose like that.I m reiterating a common complaint when I say that reviewing short story collections is difficult, but still I thought my luck with finding my way through O Connor s These stories are kind of peculiar Very subdued, and on the surface often uneventful, they re also filled with little details that give a sense of magnitude and richness to their world If you imagine narrative as a path, these details are like things clustered closely to the path s sides, even spilling over into it, giving you a sense of the wider and ultimately interconnected reality which enmeshes any sequence of events in the life of an individual, fictional or otherwise Several of the sto These stories are kind of peculiar Very subdued, and on the surface often uneventful, they re also filled with little details that give a sense of magnitude and richness to their world If you imagine narrative as a path, these details are like things clustered closely to the path s sides, even spilling over into it, giving you a sense of the wider and ultimately interconnected reality which enmeshes any sequence of events in the life of an individual, fictional or otherwise Several of the stories are set, at least in part, in Carstairs, Alberta, and there are other connections between them Descendants or other relatives of a character in one story will appear in others, for instance These links seem less important, though, than the analogies Munro draws between various events within a story Some of these are very easy to miss Others are, I guess, red herrings of a sort Sometimes the twist that brings a story to its climax is barely hinted at and far from certain A couple of times I found myself wondering if what I thought had happened really had I imagine some people might find that kind of ambiguity frustrating, but I like the way it gives these stories a somewhat dreamlike quality that s even a little creepy at times But where Munro really shines in the way she creates characters that behave like real people, with all their flaws the frantic imperiousness of one young child tattling on another, a superficially pious but dimwitted and destructive young couple, the impulsive, useless stupidity of drunken insults, people who lie to others, people who lie to themselves Munro s characters live and breathe {Download} ⚢ Open Secrets: Stories ò In these eight tales, Munro evokes the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia And Munro shows us how one woman s romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present day Canada Open Secrets is a book that dazzles with its faith in language and in life New York Times Book Review I ve been meaning to read Alice Munro for a while karen put Canadian authors on my radar as a group with George Elliot Clarke, and brian s reviews of her books have been tantalizing Then the gauntlet was thrown down by that sleazy architect loving Blake Well, not really, but I perceived a gauntlet Architects suck With the first story, I m hooked Amazing I m not even done with it yet, the very first story, butso good A simple tale that touches down on a solitary librarian s life like a I ve been meaning to read Alice Munro for a while karen put Canadian authors on my radar as a group with George Elliot Clarke, and brian s reviews of her books have been tantalizing Then the gauntlet was thrown down by that sleazy architect loving Blake Well, not really, but I perceived a gauntlet Architects suck With the first story, I m hooked Amazing I m not even done with it yet, the very first story, butso good A simple tale that touches down on a solitary librarian s life like a skipping stone, glimpses of her interactions, all shown and not told But what I get out of it is this deeply loving embrace of the written word In each episode of her life, there is something combed into it about words epistles that form a bond, stolen library books, a typewriter salesman, a wealthy man who forsakes his living room for the library armchairs, and I m sure there will beas I read on I love this I wish I hadn t waited so long to read this author