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Runaway [Paperback]

Alice Munro
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
RRP: 8.99
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Book Description

2 Feb 2006

**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**

The matchless Munro makes art out of everyday lives in this exquisite collection. Here are men and women of wildly different times and circumstances, their lives made vividly palpable by the nuance and empathy of Munro's writing. Runaway is about the power and betrayals of love, about lost children, lost chances. There is pain and desolation beneath the surface, like a needle in the heart, which makes these stories more powerful and compelling than anything she has written before.

Winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2009.

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Product details

  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; New Ed edition (2 Feb 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099472252
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099472254
  • Product Dimensions: 2.5 x 12.5 x 19.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (24 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description


"Runaway is so good I don't want to talk about it. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it. Read Munro! Read Munro!" (Jonathan Franzen New York Times Book Review)

"Millions of words have been spilt in attempts to tell us exactly what it means to be human. In Runaway, Munro performs that very miracle" (The Times)

"A beautiful, echoing collection, and a demonstration of perfected and unflinching form" (Ali Smith Scotsman)

"These stories are breathtaking - they leave you winded with their toughness and brilliance" (Helen Simpson Guardian)

"She is a sculptor of the human condition: nothing more and nothing less than an artist" (Evening Standard)

Book Description

**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**

The bestselling collection by the greatest short story writer in the world and winner of the Man Booker International Prize.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Runaway success 21 Dec 2011
I think that this is one of the best volumes of fiction I've read.

I thought that that was worth a paragraph on its own. I was going to suggest that Munro appears to be one of the best short story writers of all time, but the distinction seems irrelevant. 'Runaway' isn't difficult reading, but it is worth taking it at a steady pace if you want to get the best out of it. There's often a temptation with fiction to skim what appears to be long-winded description or mundane dialogue, but nothing is wasted here, even though the stories are, at forty pages on average, quite long for short fiction. Consequently, when I was halfway through reading these stories, I felt as if I was deep into a full-length novel.

Munro's point of view is always given to a female character and the cover of my copy suggests yet another instance of a publisher aiming a female author at a female market, which doesn't do the quality of the content justice. Jonathan Frantzen, who writes the introduction, touches on this point. While it is heavily slanted toward a woman's outlook, its themes can be appreciated by men too.

Munro's characters find themselves in realistic situations, a troubled marriage, an unexpected romance, a problem of identity perhaps. Most short stories focus on the development of one thread, but by extending the form slightly, Munro is able to add the occasional twist or unexpected development, often revealing a concealed backstory. Her characters also therefore have some big decisions to make and are prone to taking the wrong course or changing their minds, as we all too often do.

Stories two to four are chronological episodes of the same character's life, but otherwise the stories are unconnected. There's a strong element of suspense in them too.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars so good, they're disappointing... 28 July 2009
I must qualify this review by admitting that I almost never read short stories, finding them the most frustrating of genres. I am aware however, that the genre itself requires great skill and craft to succeed, and Alice Munro obviously has both.

Alice Munro's collection in Runaway is of, arguably, the most frustrating type: the short story that is so good it can only leave you disappointed. Just as you get warm and cosy with the characters, just as you are drawn in and fully engaged, it finishes. The stories are all connected to women's lives and experiences, but not in such a way that male characters are either marginalised or sacrificed. Munro's characterisation is superb, and within a couple of pages the reader will feel her creations stepping from the book and into real life.

Her writing is at once disarmingly simple, and yet very powerful, and even though none of the stories are frightening in the least, I felt myself afraid at times. There's an invisible force, an element of suspense perhaps, that pulls the reader through each story. She really is a most remarkable writer.

A couple of the stories end in a rather vague - slightly surreal - way, that may leave some readers a little puzzled. They were the ones that struck me the most, and that I find myself pondering. Another group of three stories contain the same character, and that was quite comforting whilst they continued, although triply frustrating at the end!

If you enjoy short stories, I can't imagine you not liking this collection.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Much more than a missing goat 2 July 2013
I think this collection is stunning. Alice Munro delves deep into the frailties and uncertainties of the human psyche. You begin to form an opinion of a character and then, with a swift flick of the writerly wrist, Munro turns that on its head and gives you a startling new perspective. Characters hide the truth from each other, or from themselves. People are found or lost.

She is a master of subtle suspense. Nothing blatant. She drops in those quiet, discordant notes that leave a niggle of intrigue at the back of your mind. Sometimes the answers follow, and sometimes it's a discordant note that will never be resolved - just as in real life. The problem could be as simple as a missing goat, but the layers of meaning and emotion surrounding that goat are tenfold.

Her lyrical descriptions blend in seamlessly, without any sense of literary conceit. There is an honest, down to earth quality about the writing. This is a craftswoman at the top of her game.

If you're looking for neatly tied ends and whack-you-over-the-head-blatant suspense, or you're uncomfortable with the transience of the short story form, this book is probably not for you. If (like me) you're an avid fan of the short story, buy it!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Not an award winner in my view 6 Feb 2014
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a collection of short stories about random people. Some stories contain the same people in them, some are stand alone, all are miserable. The stories were well written, but we're relentlessly down beat. The characters were neither likable nor relatable too and I found myself wondering what I was missing, or getting, especially as this is an award winner. Nearly all of us at book club agreed, which is surprising! Well written but morose.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delicate touch 18 Jan 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
If Munro was a film-maker, she would make the sort of films I like; those which focus on character development, subtle detail and the small tragedies of everyday life.
Some short story writers I can think of are William Trevor( whom I find acidic, clever,cold and somewhat cruel) and Colette who is nearer in terms of both her innate feminism and delicate and observant style.
Neither are the same as Munro. She is neare Edith Pearlman, but less magnanimous and comforting than her. This is no criticism, it is a different style, shot through with strange observations, the difficulties of being female and feminine and still wanting it all.

She is not an overtly humorous writer, although there is humour in some of her situations; an elderly 'girl' mother being bathed with her baby granddaughter by the baby's rather hypercritical and over-educated mother.
The routing of a pastor's entrenched religious beliefs by a fiercely intelligent atheist who in her youthful argumenation, does not realise that a pathetic belief is all the man has to support him against his fear of death.
The sudden menstruation of a young girl after a suicide; the evacuation of blood somehow horribly linked in her mind with the casual way she had treated the man's loneliness.
He fear of having caused his death rendered ridiculous by a fellow traveller who falls in love with her.
You will notice that the humour is astringently delicate and rests on misunderstanding and human arrogance.
I felt the stories veracious, as though they were entirely true little insights into love, ageing, loss and the thousand natural shocks the flesh is heir to.
Lives fill and empty like the ebb and flow of some metaphysical tide.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Windows into other peoples' lives
Each time I reached the end of one of the short stories in Runaway, I felt like in a small way I had seen glimpses into the most intimate and important moments of other people's... Read more
Published 3 months ago by .
5.0 out of 5 stars Read this book!
If you like good writing, great characterisation and emotional depth, read this book. If you want a thriller, page turner, linear story it might not be your cup of tea. Read more
Published 5 months ago by TildaB
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful Munro
The words creep into your mind and heart and stay there. Another superb example of her knowledge of the human race.
Published 5 months ago by sheila jones
3.0 out of 5 stars Excellent writing, somewhat baffling
This author has recently won the Nobel prize for literature so I downloaded this book to sample her work. Read more
Published 5 months ago by J. A. Evans
5.0 out of 5 stars Munro creates a universe in just a few pages
Beautiful prose, characters born from genuine truths and Munro's rare observational talent, very-much steeped in Canadian culture but to call this Canadian fiction would undermine... Read more
Published 5 months ago by Kelly Erin Wright
4.0 out of 5 stars A gripping short story
Set in rural Canada, it is a story of a young wife's dependency on others; husband, friend, neighbour. How she bends to their will but makes an attempt for freedom. Read more
Published 5 months ago by Barbara M
5.0 out of 5 stars Runaway. Al;ice Munro
Very good - even better a second time round. A very perceptive writer and not a book to be rushed through as its value lies in the detail and there is more depth in it than would... Read more
Published 7 months ago by Norah Davies
2.0 out of 5 stars I couldn't get into this...
this was book club read. Some of the ladies in the group did manage to finish it, but I didn't enjoy the first story at all so gave up. Mixed reviews at the book club meeting. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Amazon Customer
5.0 out of 5 stars a reader
Alice Munro is a great story teller and each of these short stories are different. She is quite a complicated writer and there is always the tendency to look back during and after... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Consumer A
4.0 out of 5 stars Runaway Munro
Brilliant short stories with a twist in them. Runaway by Alice Munro. Beautifully written with few words conveying much imagery.
Published 18 months ago by Dr. Peter Barbor
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