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Authors: Alice Munro

Selected Stories (100 page)

BOOK: Selected Stories
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The Progress of Love

The Moons of Jupiter

The Beggar Maid

Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You

Lives of Girls and Women

Dance of the Happy Shades



Alice Munro has long been heralded for her penetrating, lyrical prose, and in “The Bear Came Over the Mountain”—the basis for Sarah Polley’s film
Away from Her
—her prodigious talents are once again on display. As she follows Grant, a retired professor whose wife, Fiona, begins gradually to lose her memory and drift away from him, we slowly see how a lifetime of intimate details can create a marriage, and how mysterious the bonds of love really are.



In this exhilarating series of interweaving stories, Alice Munro re-creates the evolving bond—one that is both constricting and empowering—between two women over 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—in spite of Flo’s ridicule and ghastly warnings—leaves the small town she grew up in to achieve her own equivocal success in the larger world.

Fiction/Short Stories


A young girl gets an unexpected glimpse into her father’s past when she realizes the sales call they’ve made one summer afternoon in the Great Depression is to his old sweetheart. A married woman returning home after the death of her invalid mother tries to release the sister who stayed home to nurse her into a more abundant future. The audience at a children’s piano recital receives a surprising lesson in the power of art to transform when a not-quite-right student performs with unexpected musicality and a spirit of joy. In these fifteen short stories, Alice Munro conjures ordinary lives with an extraordinary vision, displaying the remarkable talent for which she is now widely celebrated. Set on farms, by river marshes, in the lonely towns and new suburbs of western Ontario, these tales are luminous acts of attention to those vivid moments when revelation emerges from the layers of experience that lie behind even the most everyday events and lives.

Fiction/Short Stories


A Selection of Stories

Introduction by Margaret Atwood

Carried Away
is a dazzling selection of stories—seventeen favorites chosen by the author from across her distinguished career. The stories brought together here span a quarter century, drawn from some of her earliest books,
The Beggar Maid
The Moons of Jupiter
, through her bestselling collection,
. Here are such favorites as “Royal Beatings,” in which a young girl, her father, and stepmother release the tension of their circumstances in a ritual of punishment and reconciliation; “Friend of My Youth,” in which a woman comes to understand that her difficult mother is not so very different from herself; and “The Love of a Good Woman,” in which, when an old crime resurfaces, a woman has to choose whether to believe in the man she intends to marry. Munro’s incomparable empathy for her characters, the depth of her understanding of human nature, and the grace and surprise of her narrative add up to a richly layered and capacious fiction. Like the World War I soldier in the title story, whose letters from the front to a small-town librarian he doesn’t know change her life forever, Munro’s unassuming characters insinuate themselves in our hearts and take permanent hold.

Fiction/Short Stories


In story after story in this brilliant collection, Alice Munro pinpoints the moment a person is forever altered by a chance encounter, an action not taken, or a simple twist of fate. Her characters are flawed and fully human: their stories draw us in with their quiet depth and surprise us with unexpected turns. And while most are set in her signature territory around Lake Huron, some strike even closer to home: an astonishing suite of four autobiographical tales offers an unprecedented glimpse into Munro’s own childhood. Exalted by her clarity of vision and her unparalleled gift for storytelling,
Dear Life
shows how strange, perilous, and extraordinary ordinary life can be.

Fiction/Short Stories


A woman haunted by dreams of her dead mother. An adulterous couple stepping over the line where the initial excitement ends and the pain begins. A widow visiting a Scottish village in search of her husband’s past—and instead discovering unsettling truths about a total stranger. The miraculously accomplished stories in this collection not only astonish and delight, but also convey the unspoken mysteries at the heart of all human experience. The mastery—the almost numinous ability to say the unsayable—makes
Friend of My Youth
a genuine literary event.

Fiction/Short Stories


In the nine breathtaking stories that make up this celebrated collection, Alice Munro achieves new heights, creating narratives that loop and swerve like memory, and conjuring up characters as thorny and contradictory as people we know ourselves. This is Munro at her best—tirelessly observant, serenely free of illusion, deeply and gloriously humane.

Fiction/Short Stories


Alice Munro’s only novel is an insightful, honest book, “autobiographical in form but not in fact,” that chronicles a young girl’s growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940s. Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father’s fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor family friend and her rough younger brother. When she begins spending more time in town, she is surrounded by women—her mother, an agnostic, opinionated woman who sells encyclopedias to local farmers; her mother’s boarder, the lusty Fern Dogherty; and her best friend, Naomi, with whom she shares the frustrations and unbridled glee of adolescence. Through these unwitting mentors and in her own encounters with sex, birth, and death, Del explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood. The result is a powerful, moving, and humorous demonstration of Alice Munro’s unparalleled awareness of the lives of girls and women.



Mining the silences and dark discretions of provincial life, these tales lay bare the seamless connections and shared guilt that bind even the loneliest individuals. Munro evokes the vagaries of love, the tension and deceit that lie in wait under the polite surfaces of society, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart.

Fiction/Short Stories


In these piercingly lovely and endlessly surprising stories by one of the most acclaimed current practitioners of the art of fiction, many things happen: there are betrayals and reconciliations, love affairs consummated and mourned. But the truest events in
The Moons Of Jupiter
are the ways in which the characters are transformed over time, coming to view their past selves with an anger, regret, and infinite compassion that communicate themselves to us with electrifying force.

Fiction/Short Stories


Open Secrets
, Munro uncovers the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected. She tells of vanished young schoolgirls, indentured frontier brides, an eccentric recluse who finds love at a dinner party, and a Canadian woman fleeing a husband and a lover. These stories resonate with sorrow, humor, and wisdom, confirming Munro as one of the most gifted writers of our time.

Fiction/Short Stories


A divorced woman returns to her childhood home and confronts the memory of her parents’ confounding yet deep bond. The accidental near-drowning of a child exposes the fragility of the trust between children and parents. A man brings his lover on a visit to his ex-wife, only to feel unexpectedly closer to his estranged partner. Drawing us into the most intimate corners of ordinary lives, Munro reveals much about ourselves, our choices, and our experiences of love.

Fiction/Short Stories


is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships. In Munro’s hands, the people she writes about—women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children—become as vivid as our own neighbors. It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own.

Fiction/Short Stories


Spanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In her
Selected Stories
, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever. A traveling salesman during the Depression takes his children with him on an impromptu visit to a former girlfriend. A poor girl steels herself to marry a rich fiancé she can’t quite manage to love. An abandoned woman tries to choose between the opposing pleasures of seduction and solitude. To read these stories is to succumb to the spell of a true narrative sorcerer, a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.

Fiction/Short Stories


In the thirteen stories in her remarkable second collection, Alice Munro demonstrates the precise observation, straightforward prose style, and masterful technique that led no less a critic than John Updike to compare her to Chekhov. The sisters, mothers, daughters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends in these stories shimmer with hope and love, anger and reconciliation, as they contend with their histories and their present, and what they can see of the future.

Fiction/Short Stories


With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories about the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives. In the first story, a young wife and mother, suffering from the unbearable pain of losing her three children, gains solace from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever, if less-than-admirable fashion. Other tales uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and, in the long title story, the yearnings of a nineteenth-century female mathematician.

Fiction/Short Stories


A young boy, taken to Edinburgh’s Castle Rock to look across the sea to America, catches a glimpse of his father’s dream. Scottish immigrants experience love and loss on a journey that leads them to rural Ontario. Wives, mothers, fathers, and children move through uncertainty, ambivalence, and contemplation in these stories of hope, adversity, and wonder.
The View from Castle Rock
reveals what is most essential in Munro’s art: her compassionate understanding of ordinary lives.

Fiction/Short Stories


Vintage Munro

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BOOK: Selected Stories
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