Lead story for Family Furnishings Selected Stories 1996 to 2014 by Alice Munro
I recently read an interview in The Paris Review with another contemporary master of the short story, Mavis Gallant, in which she said short stories should not be read back to back. You should space out your readings of stories. There are twenty five stories in Alice Munro's collection Family Furnishings Selected Short Stories 1996 to 2014. If this book was a novel, I could finish it two good reading days. The stories of Munro (winner of the 2013 Nobel Prize) are so rich in detail with such finely rendered characters that the collection begs to be read slowly, letting the stories sink into your consciousness.
Like many of her stories, "The Love of a Good Woman" is set in rural Ontsrio. It begins with four early teenage boys, friends, running about after school. Munro uses small details brilliantly to help us understand the kind of families the boys are from. The boys make a very big discovery, from this we learn of the lives of their parents, especially their mothers and sisters. I admit I was shocked by the stark scenes of sexual abuse (I guess I was just seeing them not going with the face of the author!). The story is structured around what led the boys to make their big discovery.
I was kindly given a review copy of this collection. I hope to complete it by year end.