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.