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Open Secrets: Stories by Alice Munro
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Open Secrets: Stories (original 1994; edition 1995)

by Alice Munro

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1,147177,123 (4.13)49
Member:buttonfern
Title:Open Secrets: Stories
Authors:Alice Munro
Info:Vintage (1995), Paperback, 294 pages
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Open Secrets by Alice Munro (1994)

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English (13)  Spanish (2)  French (2)  All (17)
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Non è facile...

...parlare dei libri di Alice Munro. Sono racconti che hanno come protagoniste figure femminili, che più si va avanti, più si scopre che il filo conduttore è l'ambientazione sempre nella medesima cittadina canadese. Storie che affondano nel passato, nelle inquietudini, nei sogni, nella solitudine. A volte sorprende, con quella sua narrazione non lineare, evocativa, su più livelli, da quello inconscio a quello temporale, da quello reale che sfuma in fantasia e da una fantasia surreale che si fatica a creder vera. C'è sempre qualcosa che sfugge, un non-detto che lascia al lettore un margine personale di elaborazione. Può risultare un'atmosfera straniante, ma anche piena di fascino...
  Magrathea | Dec 30, 2017 |
A collection of short stories set mainly in Ontario that are somewhat inter-related. I liked it.

My favorite story was The Albanian Virgin, two stories in one actually, one about a woman kidnapped in Albania and forced to live amongst a tribe, and the other about a woman running a bookstore - a woman she knows tells her the kidnap story from her hospital bed. ( )
  LisaMorr | Jul 8, 2016 |
Open Secrets was my second Munro after [b:Runaway|24192|The Runaway Jury|John Grisham|https://d.gr-assets.com/books/1388444668s/24192.jpg|1022176], and she has once again lived up to high expectations. The stories are all tied (loosely or strongly) to the fictional town of Carstairs, Ontario, which gives them cohesion in time and space. And true to form for Munro, the stories themselves are almost compulsively easy to read. They flow so well and have so many tantalizing details that the reader is fully absorbed. Sometimes the endings can be ambiguous leaving room for wonder, as in the case of Carried Away, a story in which a young librarian’s correspondence with a soldier during WWII becomes an important event twice in her life (Did the second encounter with Mr. Agnew actually happen? As of now I’m thinking this was only in her mind, and in reality Mrs. Doud was yet again “carried away” by her fantasy of what could’ve been, but I could be wrong). In that sense, these stories are layered with meaning and like all great literature are ripe for rereading.

The women of these stories shine like so many stars; some of my favorites from this collection: Dorrie the socially awkward rabbit trapper in A Real Life who gets a surprising suitor; Mrs. Monk, the stoic wife of a bootlegger in Spaceships have Landed who shows another woman an unexpected kindess; and the lovable “flapper at heart” Miss Christena Mullen from A Wilderness Station. It is she who recounts the story of being one of the first residents of Walley (Carstairs’ sister town on the lake) to own a “Stanley Steamer” automobile – those few that ran on steam from 1902 to 1924 prior to their obsolescence in lieu of the internal combustion engine. I will leave you with this indelible description from Miss Mullen, dressed in her hat and motoring-veil, of taking out grandmotherly Old Anna for a drive one day:

“Well, I loved taking jaunts in the Steamer. I had been driving since I was fifteen but this was the first car of my own and possibly the only Steam car in Huron County. Everybody would run to see it go by. It did not make a beastly loud coughing and clanking like other cars but rolled along silently more or less like a ship with high sails over the lake waters and it did not foul the air but left behind a plume of steam. Stanley Steamers were banned in Boston, because of the steam fogging the air. I always loved to tell people, I use to drive a car that was banned in Boston!”

Another outstanding group of stories by Alice Munro, first published in 1994. I love her dearly – please seek her out if you haven’t already. Highly recommended!

( )
  averybird | Dec 28, 2015 |
My first Munro. A good thing? A bad thing? I acquired her books before the Nobel Prize pronouncement, but only got around to reading them after. I'm the sort that often needs to be led by the nose like that.

I'm reiterating a common complaint when I say that reviewing short story collections is difficult, but still. I thought my luck with finding my way through O'Connor's [b:The Complete Stories|284996|The Complete Stories|Flannery O'Connor|https://d202m5krfqbpi5.cloudfront.net/books/1311998165s/284996.jpg|886814] heralded a new found ability to transition between varying lengths, but whereas O'Connor drives you into a corner again and again until you either get out or go insane, Munro floats.

Or slides. I found myself looking thorough beginnings and middles and ends, trying to orient around what exactly I thought of each, wondering if my speed of reading had impacted my understanding more than I thought. But no, it's all there, especially here, in a story titled The Albanian Virgin:We have been very happy.
I have often felt completely alone.
There is always in this life something to discover.
The days and the years have gone by in some sort of blur.
On the whole, I am satisfied.
Most of the people in Munro's world don't know what they want. They'll write letters and marry others that they'll most certainly cheat on and live on in a summary after the facts of the matter are through. It's not so simple as all that, though, as here it is my "show, not tell" spiel come back to bite me as Munro leads me through each and every story without ever really giving up the ghost. Several oddities of event and character that both entertained and sent my thinking into a frenzy, a few literature references that I latched onto like a lighthouse, but otherwise I left off each ending with a "Well."You could look up from your life of the moment and feel the world crackling beyond the walls.I'd say that they're peaceful, but they're not. I'd say that they're the small town honings as Munro is so often characterized by, but it's not, or at least is far more sedate and uncanny and lush. It's that crackle that I'm trying to find the words for, but have the feeling that it'll take me a few more collections to pin it down to the count. In the meantime, I'll leave behind the idea that the music of Ludovico Einaudi goes a fair way in evoking the same theme of emotion, and send you on your way.Often these sentences seemed so satisfying to me, or so elusive and lovely, that I could not help abandoning all the surrounding words and giving myself up to a peculiar state. ( )
  Korrick | Feb 26, 2014 |
I'm definately going to have to get me some of Munro's books! I loved this one too, except that the last story I found to be a bit dull. ( )
  briannad84 | May 19, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 13 (next | show all)
Alice Munro, in Open Secrets, resembles Tolstoy, in that she convincingly gives you the entire social structure of a place, in her case the town of Carstairs, from top to bottom, each character from the inside out.
 
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This book is for ever-faithful friends - - Daphne and Deirdre, Audrey, Sally, Julie, Mildred, Ann and Ginger and Mary
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In the dining room of the Commerical Hotel, Louisa opened the letter that arrived that day from overseas. (first line of first story)
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0679755624, Paperback)

In these eight tales, Munro evokes the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected. She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia. And Munro shows us how one woman's romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present-day Canada.

"Open Secrets is a book that dazzles with its faith in language and in life."--New York Times Book Review

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:11:10 -0400)

(see all 4 descriptions)

Eight stories whose protagonists are women. The story, Carried Away, is on a librarian's romance with a World War I soldier who on his return marries another. The soldier is killed in a factory accident and the librarian marries the factory owner. Another story, An Albanian Virgin, is on a bag lady kidnaped by tribesmen in her youth. By the author of Friend of My Youth.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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