Learn more Download now Shop now Shop now flip flip flip Shop now Learn More Shop now Shop now Shop now Learn more Shop Fire Shop Kindle Learn More Shop now Shop now Learn more

on 18 January 2014
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.
A woman loses her adored daughter for no really good reason other than her mind is apparently slightly messed up by a slightly unimpressive retreat group who have convinced her that her mother is lacking in charitable and worthy intentions.
He life continues parallel to her mother's but the two are separated by a gulf of unresolved misunderstanding. He mother's pain matures to resignation and even a reluctance to admit her daughter's existence to partners.
Wheels turn but their is no comfortable tying up, we are forced to live with the losses and sadnesses of the characters, as indeed we have to live with our own.
If this sounds heavyweight, it isn't. The prose is delicate, disarmingly so. Conversation is to the point and characters speak as you feel they really would. Details are added to add poignancy, a man's vulnerability is transmuted into a stomach described as a 'white pancake'. We do not disdain the characters, we feel for them as we would in a Chekhov story. There is humanitas here and also seamlessness. Any abrupt ending is intended.
One of the most unlikeable characters is the horribly louche and sinister riding school owner to whom his often melancholic wife has a terrible physical addiction unquenched even by an implied brutality. Her emotional delicacy is belied by her physical abilities and herein lies the key, the flesh is very weak. This reminds of Tennessee Williams' characters with their hidden quirks and sexual peculiarities.
Another unlikeable character, is the subtly dreadful and monosyllabic Irene whose hairy primal qualities have entranced a girl's father, invading her dreams with Freudian symbolism of which she is all too much aware.
In Munro the mundane becomes a clear iconography of character, few stereotypes here, and if they are, they know they are!
The word which was never said, the thing which was unwittingly left undone, the question as to the mystery of human relationships, attraction and repulsion- these issues are Munro's subject. The letter which skims over the truth, and the lives lived as if we actually knew what we were doing, which basically none of us do. This is truthful and profound.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 27 April 2015
Beautifully written selection of short stories in in taut, elegant prose. These stories invite you to dip into people's lives for a brief period, get to know them - or so you think - over the space of a few pages, then move on. Some people don't like short stories - a bit like meeting a really interesting person on a train, they are left wanting to swap phone numbers and get to know them better. But if you are the kind of person who is satisfied with the perfect little interlude itself, then you 'get' short stories and you will love these as brilliant, haunting examples of the craft.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 17 March 2014
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 lives. These stories are charged with emotions, with delicate and subtle feelings, with characters that come out of the page with real naturalness, more than in any other book that comes to mind. Alice Munro is able to paint her characters with great depth, with all their imperfections, with real, natural emotions, and to open up their worlds to us.

These may be "short" stories but each one seemed to contain more inside it than most novels I've read. I didn't in the least share the feeling of a previous reviewer who stated that the stories 'left him wanting more'; for me if they were any longer they would simply be too heavy, too demanding. I found their length to be just right. They tell us everything Munro wants to tell us - and with great economy, as she barely puts a word wrong in her beautiful prose.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 29 September 2016
Alice Munro is one of the greatest short story writers that ever lived. I first came across her work through "Lives of Girls and Women" which I loved and often taught in my English literature classes in a community college in London. This collection includes 3 stories which Pedro Almodovar used as a basis for his most recently released film. If you like Almodovar's films, in general, you will probably like Munro's stories as well.
Many of them deal with the issues of women's experiences in the current time. As a male I find her stories enlightening and informative in relation to the female condition which can still be so misunderstood. In some ways I don't feel qualified to write a decent review as I am not a woman - but there is certainly much enjoyment and learning to be had in Munro's writing. She deservedly won the Nobel Prize for literature a year or two ago.
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 21 September 2016
Stuck in an airport lounge for five hours this collection of short stories saved my sanity. I had been to see the movie by Aldomavar which is loosely based on some of these stories but the writing gives an ever darker edge to these strange tales of women young and old running away and finding new lives and new loves and loosing old loves and old ties along the way. Mesmerising. Once read, these stories are never forgotten.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 6 February 2014
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.
2 people found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 10 February 2014
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. However, if you want to read something that feels new and fresh, that stays with you after you have finished the book, that makes you think and feel, Alice Munro will be a revelation. All the awards and accolades are totally deserved - a brilliant book. Oh and in case I didn't make it abundantly clear that I loved this book, I have bought multiple copies for friends and family.
|0Comment|Report abuse
VINE VOICEon 9 February 2013
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 reading one of her tales which makes them so vivid and real. e.g. What if this had happened earlier or What a difference one's life might have turned out if they hadn't been at a particular place or met such and such a person etc., Always fascinating and such great style.
One person found this helpful
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 1 February 2014
This author has recently won the Nobel prize for literature so I downloaded this book to sample her work. She is indeed an excellent writer but it is somewhat baffling and a little difficult, I found, to understand where and why her characters do what they do. Perhaps it's just over my head
|0Comment|Report abuse
on 31 May 2015
Beautiful collection of short stories. Powerfully written, with in depth characters created in a short time; you find yourself wanting to know what happens next in almost all of them.
|0Comment|Report abuse