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The View from Castle Rock: Stories by Alice…

The View from Castle Rock: Stories (2006)

by Alice Munro

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English (45)  German (2)  Spanish (2)  Italian (1)  French (1)  All languages (51)
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Can't fault the writing. And normally I like local history, family history, genealogy, and historical fiction in general. I was captivated by the first 2-3 stories, but Munro seems to run out of engaging material about halfway through, which is when my interest started to lag. Didn't finish the book. ( )
  Osbaldistone | Mar 3, 2018 |
Alice Munro is frequently described as the best short story writer alive. I've read a few of her collections and enjoyed them but never quite saw the brilliance others cite. In the blurbs on this one, she's compared to Chekov, so now I get it - I'm not big on him either. But there's some great stories in this collection that Munro describes as somewhat autobiographical. The girl in these linked stories is from a poor rural farming community and her roots are in Scotland, in a valley described as "having no advantages". She covers her ancestors' horrible voyage to Canada and her stiffnecked, stoic parents and grandparents in Part One, and Part Two is filled with her teenage and adult life. My favorite is the story "The Hired Girl", where she becomes a summer servant on an island (called Nausicca, from The Odyssey!) on a lake in Ontario. There's also an entire section in the story "The Ticket" that features an incredible compare-and-contrast of two trunks, one a humpbacked ancient one that had come over from Scotland, and a new one bought by her affluent fiancé, and their contents, that's a heartbreaker. OK, I do appreciate Alice Munro. I admit it.

Quotes: "Another private passion I had was for lines of poetry. I went rampaging through my school texts to uncover them before they could be read and despised in class."

"Reunions occasionally reveal how those who seemed most secure have been somewhat diminished or battered by life, and those who were at the fringes, who seemed to droop and ask pardon, have blossomed."

"In those days, nobody in town went for walks, except for some proprietary old men who strode around observing and criticizing any municipal projects. People were sure to spot you if you were noticed in a part of town where you had no particular reason to be. Then somebody would say, "We seen you the other day" - and you were supposed to explain." ( )
  froxgirl | Feb 17, 2018 |
Alice Munro is a great writer. I have thoroughly enjoyed her short story collections. This book is a series of short stories that is really a family saga. The prose was very plain and the types of stories were not up to the usual Munro level of engagement type work. Not her best for me. In showing the day to day lives of people in the 19th and 20th century rural world that she grew up in she actually created the struggle they had. It was just not al book for me. If you have not read Alice Munro you should but try "Runaway" is a better starting place then this book. ( )
  nivramkoorb | Jan 24, 2018 |
Munro has played with the truth, mixing in a little fiction here and there, and it succeeds admirably. This collection of short stories begins with some family history in Scotland followed with her Canadian experiences. The writing conveys stories that are sincere and painfully candid, stories of ordinary people who made an unforgettable impression on a young woman, who is recounting her history. If the reader is unfamiliar with Alice Munro, this might not be the best place to start. However, the writing has that unmistakable Munro excellence. ( )
1 vote VivienneR | Jul 6, 2017 |
This is the first of Munro's books I have read. It reads like a memoir and leaves me wondering how much of the stories is drawn from her own life. Enjoyable read. ( )
  bness2 | May 23, 2017 |
Showing 1-5 of 45 (next | show all)
Alice Munro's new book, The View from Castle Rock, is a delightful fraud. Whether through failure of imagination on her publisher's part, or a lack of confidence in the reader, or a shrewd authorial gambit, it is offered as a book of "Stories", the author's eleventh. But it is something else, a major achievement, and an exciting revitalisation of a somewhat exhausted genre. Resounding flyleaf rhetoric issues a denial: "So is this a memoir? No." Well, yes. It is. It is a memoir as only Alice Munro could write it.

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Alice Munroprimary authorall editionscalculated
Farr, KimberlyReadersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Dedicated to Douglas Gibson, who has sustained me through many travails, and whose enthusiasm for this particular book has even sent him prowling through the graveyard of Ettrick Kirk, probably in the rain.
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The Ettrick Valley lies about fifty miles due south of Edinburgh, and thirty or so miles north of the English border, which runs close to the wall Hadrian built to keep out the wild people from the north.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0099497999, Paperback)

On a clear day, you could see 'America' from Edinburgh's Castle Rock - or so said Alice Munro's great-great-great-grandfather, James Laidlaw, when he had drink taken. Then, in 1818, Laidlaw left the parish of 'no advantages', of banked Presbyterian emotions and uncanny tales - where, like his more famous cousin James Hogg, he was born and bred - and sailed to the new world with his family. This is the story of those shepherds from the Ettrick Valley and their descendants, among them the author herself. They were a Spartan lot, who kept to themselves; showing off was frowned on, and fear was commonplace, at least for females ...But opportunities present themselves for two strong-minded women in a ship's close quarters; a father dies, and a baby vanishes en route from Illinois to Canada; another story hints at incest; childhood is short and hazardous. This is family history where imperfect recollections blur into fiction, where the past shows through the present like the tracks of a glacier on a geological map. First love flowers under an apple tree while lust rears its head in a barn; a restless mother with ideas beyond her station declines painfully; a father farms fox fur and turkeys; a clever girl escapes to college and then into a hasty marriage. Beneath the ordinary landscape there's a different story - evocative, frightening, sexy, unexpected, gripping. Alice Munro tells it like no other.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:36 -0400)

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A compilation of short fiction journeys from the Scotland of the author's own family heritage and a ship en route to the New World, to a family odyssey from Illinois to Canada and in and around Lake Huron.

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