Wednesday, 6 May 2015

Alice Munro Revisited







This is an interesting list to have.  I picked it up in the library the other day and I was curious to see how many books I had read.  I had read just over half of them but what surprised me was that I had never heard of several of them.  This was good news for me, a few more authors to add to my own reading list.


Here is a book I revisited and did so happily because I have read that Alice's stories must be reread often to be fully enjoyed.
 I had read Runaway by Alice Munro before but wanted to take a second look when it was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.  I have to say up front and at risk of being branded a Canadian traitor that I don't enjoy everything Alice Munro writes.  Dare I say it but I even find some of the writing a bit contrived or yikes, even plodding by moments.  I have enjoyed some of her stories and to me, when they work, they work beautifully, and those are what makes me turn to her books time and time again.
 The back of this particular book says they are stories about love but I don't think they are anything near as simple as that; perhaps love and aloneness would suit better.  See her quote below and you just know one word could never be the whole theme.

 I really like the idea that ordinary people living ordinary lives can provide fodder for interesting reading but some of Alice's stories leave me  baffled or maybe uncomfortable is a better word about the point of it all.
 I especially have an issue with her endings. A couple of these stories seemed to end in mid-air, as it were. Not at all satisfactory conclusions
Of course, she is very strong on characterization.  Her characters always seem like people you would know and some I empathize with.  However, even in saying this, they possess an elusive quality, there is something about them I need to know but haven't been informed of sort of thing...Oh my, I'm struggling with how exactly to word what I'm thinking here.
And  I do  feel that many of her characters have a private motto and that is "I fall down, I get up, I put one foot in front of the other and so my life journey continues." Which isn't exactly a bad thing; it is the way many of us navigate our time on earth.
 Truthfully I read the book a few months ago and made sparse notes thinking it would all stay in my brain.  I had "mild satisfaction" written up the side of the page which is not exactly a ringing endorsement but I must have enjoyed some of the stories more than others.
But many, many, many people have read these stories and absolutely, unequivocally adored them and the book won the Nobel Prize for goodness sakes, so what do I know.  

Image result for alice munro quotes