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The Love of a Good Woman: Stories (1998)

by Alice Munro

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1,956328,642 (3.94)92
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE® IN LITERATURE 2013 In eight new stories, a master of the form extends and magnifies her great themes--the vagaries of love, the passion that leads down unexpected paths, the chaos hovering just under the surface of things, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart. Time stretches out in some of the stories: a man and a woman look back forty years to the summer they met--the summer, as it turns out, that the true nature of their lives was revealed. In others time is telescoped: a young girl finds in the course of an evening that the mother she adores, and whose fluttery sexuality she hopes to emulate, will not sustain her--she must count on herself. Some choices are made--in a will, in a decision to leave home--with irrevocable and surprising consequences. At other times disaster is courted or barely skirted: when a mother has a startling dream about her baby; when a woman, driving her grandchildren to visit the lakeside haunts of her youth, starts a game that could have dangerous consequences. The rich layering that gives Alice Munro's work so strong a sense of life is particularly apparent in the title story, in which the death of a local optometrist brings an entire town into focus--from the preadolescent boys who find his body, to the man who probably killed him, to the woman who must decide what to do about what she might know. Large, moving, profound--these are stories that extend the limits of fictio… (more)
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English (25)  Spanish (4)  Italian (1)  Catalan (1)  Hungarian (1)  All languages (32)
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
These brilliant stories explore what has always been theorized and never quite materializes: that a man can be redeemed by the love of a good woman. Munro's interior views of a cohort of Canadian middle class mothers, caretakers, and their families are quietly insightful, and each of the eight stories immediately pulls the reader into circumstances that would be mundane coming from anyone else's pen. The murder of an abuser, confessed to a home health aide; a hero doctor father who acts as the town's abortionist and is blackmailed by his assistant; a woman who falls in love with the director of an amateur production and leaves her children for him; a ten year old girl's acceptance of her mother's involvement in a menage-a-trois; and a mother whose newborn rejects her in favor of her aunt - each narrator peels out the layers of the story in a calm manner that belies the disruptions and disturbances within. Munro is THE short story genius of our time. ( )
  froxgirl | Aug 17, 2022 |
Én szeretem Munro-t: kevés író tud ilyen magas színvonalon ennyire egységes, összetéveszthetetlen világot teremteni. Bámulom, ahogy az apró cselekvésekből és pillanatokból felépíti ezt az egyedülállóan hétköznapi melankóliát, az pedig, ahogy (elsősorban női) figurái kialakulnak a keze alatt… hát végtelenül boldog lennék, ha utána tudnám csinálni. Vagy legalább megérteném, hogyan csinálja. Novelláinak kulcsmomentuma talán kivétel nélkül az ígéret, amit az olvasónak tesz: hogy a szereplőkkel történni fog valami sorsfordító, valami különleges, valami, ami kiszakítja őket sivár kis létezésükből – és ami utolérhetetlen bravúr, hogy ennek a történésnek az elmaradását, hamvába hullását éppen olyan halk katarzisként tudja ábrázolni, mint magát a beteljesülést. Munro igazi atmoszféra-központú szerző, mint Henry James vagy Mansfield, ezért nehéz kiragadott idézetekkel érzékeltetni művészetét. Nála az egésznek van jelentése: ahogy szereplői finoman megérintik egymást, vagy megérintenek egy tárgyat egymás helyett, vagy tárgyként érintik egymást… Súlya van minden jelentéktelen félmondatnak és mozdulatnak. Egyszerű, finom vonalú, szép próza, belemerülős, a felszínes vizsgálatnak nem adja meg magát. ( )
  Kuszma | Jul 2, 2022 |
I found these a bit of a slog to get through but then felt like discussing them at book group opened my eyes to how much I'd enjoyed them. They are dense and complex stories which reward later discussion and thought. The one I remember most now is Before the Change, a story about illegal abortions. ( )
  AlisonSakai | Oct 10, 2021 |
Once again I find Munro to be sort of infuriatingly slow to read. It took me several weeks to get through this collection. Her prose is precise to the point at times almost of tedium, and yet her precision is also somehow effortless and right. So I find the stories simultaneously hard to get through and awfully engaging. It's obvious to me that she's a good writer, but I can't say that I find her writing inspiring. My favorite authors tend to be the ones who make me want to write my own work, and Munro does not have this effect on me. ( )
  dllh | Jan 6, 2021 |
This is a collection of short stories. All of them are set in Canada, often in small towns or summer cottages, most of them in the 1950s or 60s, and feature love and sex, affairs and babies, and people who sometimes feel almost painfully realistic.

The title story was actually the first thing of Alice Munro's I ever read, in some anthology or other, and I was immediately impressed by it, particularly by all the tiny little details that simultaneously seemed so true to familiar human experience and so utterly original. What strikes me now, having read the rest of the stories in this collection, is how often Munro provides us with these deft little details while simultaneously leaving the big emotional stuff that's actually at the heart of the story mostly implicit and hinted at. This doesn't always entirely work for me; there are pieces in here that I find a little unsatisfying, no matter how well-written they are. But when it works, it really works.

Rating: I'm giving this one a 4/5, but the best stories definitely rate higher than that. ( )
2 vote bragan | Mar 20, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 25 (next | show all)
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For the last couple of decades, there has been a museum in Walley, dedicated to preserving photos and butter churns and horse harnesses and an old dentist's chair and a cumbersome apple peeler and such curiosities as the pretty little porcelain-and-glass insulators that were used on telegraph poles.
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WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE® IN LITERATURE 2013 In eight new stories, a master of the form extends and magnifies her great themes--the vagaries of love, the passion that leads down unexpected paths, the chaos hovering just under the surface of things, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart. Time stretches out in some of the stories: a man and a woman look back forty years to the summer they met--the summer, as it turns out, that the true nature of their lives was revealed. In others time is telescoped: a young girl finds in the course of an evening that the mother she adores, and whose fluttery sexuality she hopes to emulate, will not sustain her--she must count on herself. Some choices are made--in a will, in a decision to leave home--with irrevocable and surprising consequences. At other times disaster is courted or barely skirted: when a mother has a startling dream about her baby; when a woman, driving her grandchildren to visit the lakeside haunts of her youth, starts a game that could have dangerous consequences. The rich layering that gives Alice Munro's work so strong a sense of life is particularly apparent in the title story, in which the death of a local optometrist brings an entire town into focus--from the preadolescent boys who find his body, to the man who probably killed him, to the woman who must decide what to do about what she might know. Large, moving, profound--these are stories that extend the limits of fictio

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