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The Love of a Good Woman: Stories Paperback – 1 Nov 1999

4.3 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 339 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Books (Nov. 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0375703632
  • ISBN-13: 978-0375703638
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.8 x 20.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,903,845 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

Superb...Long ago, Virginia Woolf described George Eliot as one of the few writers 'for grown-up people.' The same might today, and with equal justice, be said of Alice Munro.--Michael Gorra, "New York Times Book Review"
A writer for the ages--Dan Cryer, "Newsday"
Alice Munro is indisputably a master. Like all great writers, she helps sharpen perception...Her imagination is fearless...A better book of stories can scarcely be imagined.--Greg Varner, "Washington Post Book World"
A riveting collection...a lovely book. Munro's stories move through the years with a sneaky grace.--Georgia Jones-Davis, "San Francisco Chronicle"
A triumph...certain to seal her reputation as our contemporary Chekhov--Carol Shields, "Mirabella"
Superlative...She distills a novel's worth of dramatic events into a story of 20 pages.--Erik Huber, "Time OutM"
These astonishing stories remind us, yet again, of the literary miracles Alice Munro continues to perform.--Francine Prose, "Elle"
Praise from fellow writers:
Her work felt revolutionary when I came to it, and it still does. Jhumpa Lahiri
She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion. Jonthan Franzen
The authority she brings to the page is just lovely. Elizabeth Strout
She s the most savage writer I ve ever read, also the most tender, the most honest, the most perceptive. Jeffery Eugenides
Alice Munro can move characters through time in a way that no other writer can. Julian Barnes
She is a short-story writer who reimagined what a story can do. Loorie Moore
There s probably no one alive who s better at the craft of the short story. Jim Shepard
A true master of the form. Salman Rushdie
A wonderful writer. Joyce Carol Oates"

Book Description

**Winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature**

‘She can account for 20 years of a person’s life in a single, telling paragraph, or even in a subtly placed phrase…The Love of a Good Woman is a superb, but unsettling collection’ Scotsman on Sunday --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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4.3 out of 5 stars
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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
Sorry, but I completely disagree with the previous reviewer. This was the best book I have read this year. If you like slice-of-life writing, if you are looking for a book that makes you think 'yes, I have felt exactly like that', if you are a fan of Raymond Carver, do read The Love of a Good Woman. It is wonderful.
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I don’t know where to start with this book so I'm just going to dive in. Alice Munro is a very very good writer, the sort of talent who makes me think of Anne Rice's quip that Renoir sold his soul: it doesn't figure that a person can craft such luminously wonderful art without divine or diabolical help!

One of the things she does magnificently is write about children from their perspective in a way that is as delightful and frustrating and surprising as actually being with children. Once you've marvelled at this feat for a while you realise she is somehow doing the same thing with everyone, letting them speak and think and astonish and reveal, as if they live behind the scenes.

She is so gentle though, so respectful. She doesn't make that error that Katherine Mansfield stamped on in DH Lawrence of invading bodies and psyches as if we could ever understand others by magical omniscience rather than by empathy. The boys in the title story keep their fierce dignity, their sacred privacy. Even when Munro describes horrible traumatic episodes, she manages, with great sensitivity and care, to maintain a distance that keeps the reader safe from visceral response. You might want to call that shying away, but personally I'm kneeling in gratitude when an author can achieve this balance. I want to hear about trauma without being triggered where possible.

Loving Munro is also easy because her ethics of care and compassion for others are embodied by these stories, for example by Enid, the protagonist of the title story. Yet Munro refuses to paint an icon for worship: Enid can live as she does only because of her enabling circumstances, she experiences poisoned fantasies, and her goodwill is not unconditional.
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I had to read this as it was a Book Club choice and perhaps was chosen because Alice Munro had recently been selected as a Nobel Prizewinner. As these are short stories and, as I understand it, most of her writing consists of short stories, some were a little worried as to how we would review it. I have to say that I didn't get time to finish the book within the month that we had. However, those that I read I found very interesting and intriguing. I didn't like the start of the first book but it all began to make sense once I got into it. I wasn't mad about the Canadian setting, unlike some of my friends, who loved it. (Yes, I know Alice Munro is Canadian!) There was quite a wide range of opinions from some who just didn't like it at all, to some who loved it. I will certainly come back to it at some time and finish it.
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Alice Munro is (and I think there's a consensus on this) the greatest living writer in English. Though there are hits and misses among her stories, there is a huge majority of direct hits.
It would be wrong to say that she has become darker. She always believed in a good look at the worst. But she has certainly, in her later work, taken literary subtle difficult fiction into the terrain of the thriller and even horror writer. It's a combination few others have tried.
The Love of a Good Woman, for all its beauty, is one of the most horrid and frightening stories I have ever read - as confirmed on a recent admiring unwilling re-reading - what on earth is going to happen after the end of that story?
The same can be said of Save the Reaper with its hints of wild depravity.
Jakarta and The Children Stay show the long after-effects of the freedoms of the 60s and 70s on the survivors of those decades in a way that is both forgiving and unforgiving. No-one like Munro describes how long and strange life is so poetically, uncomfortably, believably.
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I give this five stars because Alice Munro is a great writer. (I'd give 4 stars to her shopping list.) But this collection is not easy. There are some intriguing characters and themes but it has the feel of being a practise piece. It is fascinating to read about the murderous confession of an old, dying man but to get to the revealing moments, the reader has to go through long stretches where the author seems to be practising getting her eye in on character and physical description.
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I find Alice Munro's short stories perceptive, challenging and always interesting. Her 'people' appear ordinary but often exist in extraordinary circumstances and react in ways that we can all relate to. The language is spare but the mental pictures she creates are clear and absorbing. This latest collection reflects the continuing strength of her fiction and mastery of the short story form. Highly recommended.
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Brilliant as always - quirky off beat
characters and compelling story lines.
I found this hard to leave down and the stories are still resonating long after I read them
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Stories that are moving, deep, affecting-this was a good, readable edition.
This is my second time through these stories and it's a great collection.
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