Short Stories, Irish literature, Classics, Modern Fiction, Contemporary Literary Fiction, The Japanese Novel, Post Colonial Asian Fiction, The Legacy of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and quality Historical Novels are Among my Interests

Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Runaway" by Alice Munro

"Runaway" by Alice Munro (2004, 45 pages)

"Runaway" is the lead story in a collection of Alice Munro's short stories, Runaway.    Alice Munro (1931, Canada) is a greatly admired writer of short stories.    (Last year I read via her story "Fiction" but did not post on it.)    She has received a great many awards for her work and is admired in Academia as well as among general readers throughout the world.    A bit of quick research indicates that most of her stories are about women and are often set in South Western Ontario, Canada.  

Most all of the short stories I have posted on can be read online.    In contrast to my normal practice of reading short stories online, I purchased the collection this story was in about a year ago.  

It took me a little while to get into it but after just a few pages I really liked the beautiful prose style of Munro. People often complain that short stories do not have enough character development to interest them.   Munro in "Runaway"  does a great job in developing the characters of the lead figures in the story.   There are at least three runaways in "Runaway".   One of the runaways is a much loved family goat.   One is an oppressed wife. One, and this was not so clear to me, is the widow of a strange poet.    One of the reasons I think people like Munro's stories is that she tells us enough about the characters to get us interested but still leaves a lot of blanks for us to fill in.   She gives us concrete details about the lives of the people in "Runaway" so we can feel we understand how they live but  still leaves some mystery.    I easily was able to believe in everyone in "Runaway".    

There are seven other stories in  Runaway.   I think now I will read them all slowly over the course of the next few months.  

Mel u


Jennifer said...

I really like Alice Munro too. And that's a great analysis of what she does with character - she brings the characters to life but doesn't completely give them away.

Mel u said...

Jennifer-thanks very much

Anonymous said...

Read this book a few years ago and, while I don't remember the details, I remember it being a wonderful collection of stories. It's not the kind of book that I would usually just pick up, but Jonathan Franzen (one of my favorite writers) wrote how Munroe was one of the most talented writers alive. I'm very glad I read it. Good review and I hope you enjoy the rest of the stories!

Mel u said...

petekarnas-I have yet to read any Franzen-maybe this year-thanks as always for your comments

Anonymous said...

I'm glad you enjoyed Munro. I haven't read this collection but enjoyed Open Secrets. I have her collected stories on my shelves and will pick it up very soon I think.

I would like to recommend another Canadian master of the short story I read lately, Alistair McLeod; I think you might like him... Unfortunately I doubt any of his stories are online, but then you are a master at finding them on the web...
I see your issue with buying collections... What about buying anthologies? I know that here you can often find some second hand. I bought The Granta Book of the American Short Story last week for €5; delighted!