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The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (1978)

by Alice Munro

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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1,2694015,303 (3.97)96
Fiction. Literature. Short Stories. HTML:WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE® IN LITERATURE 2013

In this series of interweaving stories, Munro recreates the evolving bond between two women in the course of almost forty years. One is Flo, practical, suspicious of other people's airs, at times dismayingly vulgar. the other is Rose, Flo's stepdaughter, a clumsy, shy girl who somehow leaves the small town she grew up in to achieve her own equivocal success in the larger worl… (more)
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Showing 1-5 of 37 (next | show all)
A collection of interconnected short stories, read for the AAC. Flo is Rose's stepmother, and we get vignettes of their lives over several decades, from Rose's childhood to Flo's dotage, and it's all quite compelling. Flo reminds me of my mother-in-law (also a Canadian), who has a platitude for every situation and a fairly pessimistic attitude toward most things, despite having lived a comfortable life with no more than the ordinary sort of trials and tribulations. Rose manages to break out of the confining small-town she grew up in, to live in the wider world, where she finds love affairs and creative outlets, disappointments and satisfactions. Both women are as real and alive as people I've met in person, so sharply drawn I can hear them speaking in my head. Munro's talent is both subtle and stunning. I love her writing. ( )
  laytonwoman3rd | Dec 19, 2023 |
Who Do You Think You Are (also known as The Begger Maid) is a book of interconnected short stories by Alice Munro. The stories are told by Rose in an anecdotal manner and as we read these tragicomic stories we learn of her life in rural small-town Ontario, her relationship to her step mother, Flo and as she grows and spreads her wings we learn of her aspirations and dreams.

The seemingly simple stories cover some forty years beginning when Rose is a small child growing up in a poor household. Each story covers a different period in Rose’s life, from her home life with her step-mother and father, to her early school days as well as her time in high school and college. Her first serious relationship and on to her marriage, motherhood, and divorce. Each story adds another layer to the life of this woman.

This is the second book by Alice Munro that I have read and I have been surprised at how much I liked both of them. The author has a way of putting words together that paint a clear and definitive picture. She doesn’t shy away from describing embarrassing moments and her writing makes it clear that she knows human nature. There are a lot of similarities between the author’s own life and that of Rose which served to make the book all the more intriguing. ( )
  DeltaQueen50 | Aug 9, 2022 |
What a shock: I loved an Alice Munro book.But she does such things with time/plot--the jumps forward and back, the narrating of what typically happened/what happened this time. The reversals. The way the ends witch everything -- i think in particular of Mischief and Who Do You Think You Are. Or the moment on the library stairs and the very last line of Beggar Maid: those two bits are so complex and inevitable, yet so simple. The stories definitely talk to each other--by the time we get to Simon's Luck, we are rooting for her to leave town. The moments with Flo are SO GOOD. The youth stories are SO GOOD. And yes, so little "happens," but if you want an example of tension vs drama, there it is. And so little "happens," but there is so much change. ( )
  eas7788 | Mar 28, 2022 |
I think I've read one other book by Alice Munro, but after she won the Nobel Prize several years ago I've wanted to read more, although she primarily (exclusively?) writes short stories, not my favorite, as I've said often enough.

This book consists of what are referred to as the Flo and Rose stories, and I believe they are stories that have for the most part previously appeared elsewhere. These interwoven stories tell us of the lives of Flo and Rose (step-mother and step-daughter) over 40 years, and read together feel like a novel in short stories. The stories are presented roughly chronologically (as measured by the lives of Flo and Rose), beginning when Rose is just a young child, and ending with Flo in the throes of dementia. The early stories take place in the small Ontario town where Rose grew up in poverty. Later, Rose goes out into the wide world to make her way while Flo remains behind. Yet the ties that bind them stay strong in ways good and bad. This is a wonderful collection, and although the stories were written at various times over the years, there is an inherent consistency and unity in them.

Highly recommended.

4 stars ( )
  arubabookwoman | Oct 27, 2021 |
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» Add other authors (3 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Munro, Aliceprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Danby, KenCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Johnston, WayneIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pedersen, JudyCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Petry, HildegardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed

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Royal Beating. That was Flo’s promise. You are going to get one Royal Beating.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Fiction. Literature. Short Stories. HTML:WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE® IN LITERATURE 2013

In this series of interweaving stories, Munro recreates the evolving bond between two women in the course of almost forty years. One is Flo, practical, suspicious of other people's airs, at times dismayingly vulgar. the other is Rose, Flo's stepdaughter, a clumsy, shy girl who somehow leaves the small town she grew up in to achieve her own equivocal success in the larger worl

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