Thursday, January 27, 2011
"Runaway" by Alice Munro
"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 Dailylit.com 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.