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Runaway by Alice Munro

Runaway (2004)

by Alice Munro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
The trouble with Alice Munro is that she is so consistently good at what she does that I want to say almost exactly the same things about this collection as about all the others I've read so far. Every story in the book takes you unmistakably into Alice Munro country, that world in which people are unaccountably drawn to ruin their lives by misreading a situation or failing to grasp an opportunity (more often than not an opportunity three or four decades ago). But each story also does something radical and unique to bend the formula of the short story in a way that you would have sworn before reading it couldn't be done. There ought to be a law against it, but fortunately there isn't... ( )
  thorold | Sep 7, 2017 |
Enjoyed these stories, especially the ones which revisited the same character over different parts of her life. Those felt as though they could have been parts of a novel. Loved the one about the green dress. ( )
  AJBraithwaite | Aug 14, 2017 |
A brilliantly written short story collection that makes me sad every time I think about it ( )
  trungbrian | May 24, 2017 |
I read two of her books TRYING to like Alice Munro, and I just didn't. Her short stories just never grabbed me and pulled me in. Sorry Alice. ( )
  dmbkel41 | Dec 7, 2016 |
Enthralling, but not quite what I wish it was. Every story ends so discreetly that it seems as if I'm still reading it when the next one starts. That's sort of pleasant, but it's also unsatisfying. Recommended. ( )
  valzi | Sep 7, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 71 (next | show all)
Unfortunately, her latest collection of stories, ''Runaway,'' does not represent Ms. Munro's artistry at its height. Three overlapping stories (''Chance,'' ''Soon'' and ''Silence'') provide an affecting portrait of a woman named Juliet and the harrowing trajectory of her life, but most of the entries in this volume are more stilted affairs. Instead of assuming the organic, musical form of real life, they feel like self-conscious, overworked tales, relying on awkwardly withheld secrets and O'Henryesque twists to create narrative suspense.
But suspense and purity, which are a gift to the reader, present problems for the reviewer. Basically, ''Runaway'' is so good that I don't want to talk about it here. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it.

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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Munro, AliceAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Boyce, PleukeTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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In memory of my friends,

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Carla heard the car coming before it topped the little rise in the road that around here they called a hill.
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 140004281X, Hardcover)

Alice Munro has been accused of telling the same story over and over, and to a certain extent the characterization is true. Her subject matter is inevitably the vagaries of love between middle-aged people in some rural Canadian setting, trapped there by the combination of their desires and weaknesses. Or, if not love, then at least the mysteries of relationships as characters struggle to understand each other and themselves. But this thematic single-mindedness can hardly be considered a criticism considering Munro tells stories better than anybody else and with a level of precision matched by few. It would be like criticizing Shakespeare for writing about politics.

Runaway is no exception. The stories take place throughout Canada--northern Ontario, the Prairies, the West Coast, Stratford--and feature women and men drifting in and out of each other's orbits, pulled by forces they don't understand. In "Runaway," a woman considers leaving her husband with the help of a neighbor, but the husband has other plans. In "Chance," a woman leaves her life behind in a quest for a man she met on a train crossing the country. Their intertwined lives play out through two more stories, "Soon" and "Silence," but the path they follow is as unpredictable to the reader as it is to them. In "Trespasses," a small town's women dream of escaping their lives only to find themselves in lives they never imagined.

What really marks the stories is Munro's sense of mood. There's a sense of hidden menace or even violence everywhere in Runaway. It occasionally erupts, but always in surprising and unexpected ways, and with unintended consequences. Munro may be an old-fashioned storyteller, but she understands chaos theory well enough. The same story? Sure. But it's a damn good one. --Peter Darbyshire, Amazon.ca

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:19:08 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

"In Alice Munro's new collection, we find stories about women of all ages and circumstances, their lives made palpable by the subtlety and empathy of this incomparable writer." "The runaway of the title story is a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband. In "Passion," a country girl emerging into the larger world via a job in a resort hotel discovers in a single moment of stunning insight the limits and lies of that mysterious emotion. Three stories are about a woman named Juliet - in the first, she escapes from teaching at a girls' school into a wild and irresistible love match; in the second she returns with her child to the home of her parents, whose life and marriage she finally begins to examine; and in the last, her child, caught, she mistakenly thinks, in the grip of a religious cult, vanishes into an unexplained and profound silence. In the final story, "Powers," a young woman with the ability to read the future sets off a chain of events that involves her husband-to-be and a friend in a lifelong pursuit of what such a gift really means, and who really has it."--BOOK JACKET.… (more)

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