Alice Munro – Runaway
As some of you may already know, I’m not a big fan of short stories. So, when I started this collection, I was almost prepared to be underwhelmed and dissatisfied. Yet, I had heard wonderful things about Munro, and figured I really should give at least one collection a try. Worst case, I’ll shelve it mid-way.
Boy, it’s time to eat my words, for I absolutely loved this collection. My usual complaints about plot depth and shallow characterisations fall short, simply because of Munro’s writing style. She keeps it short, succinct, simple, and portrays real people at particular moments in time – those moments in time when they’re at their weakest, most vulnerable, or most reflective. The history is irrelevant. The future still unseen.
She hopes as people who know better hope for undeserved blessings, spontaneous remissions, things of that sort.
There are eight stories in the collection, each with a one word title. While I could delve into what each story is about, I shall refrain from doing so. It’s pointless summarising eight different short stories, simply because I don’t think I’ll be able to do any justice to them. And then of course, there’s the threat of a spoiler….
I will say this though, the first (and title) story of the collection didn’t really do it for me, but the subsequent stories were wonderful. Three of them featured the same protagonist at different stages of her life – as an academic, a young mother, and then her return to academia, and those three stories stood out, in my opinion. Both, Trespasses and Tricks were wonderful, and there was something incredibly refreshing about them.
Apologies for the short review, and lack of detail, but I think it’s something you have to pick up on your own to enjoy. There’s no hero. No villain. No victim. It’s just regular people. Another place, another time, and it could just as easily be you or me.
As I’m re-thinking my stance on short-stories, do you have any to recommend? Have you read anything by Munro? Would you endorse other collections by her?
Filed under: Alice Munro, Books 2010, Commonwealth Writers Prize, General Fiction, Giller, Governor General's Award, Review, Short Stories | 25 Comments
Tags: Alice Munro, Canada