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Alice Munro 
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Post Alice Munro
I finished Alice Munro's latest collection of short stories (Too Much Happiness - review here: http://wp.me/p1A7bl-eS ) and this book has reinforced my belief that she is the best short story writer working today, if not of all time.

Reading the Amazon reviews of her novel I find a number of people think her work is too grotesque and her plots too "literary." I can see that, her genius is subtle and her writing needs to be read closely.

Am I being too much of a fanboy? What do y'all think of her? Have you read any Alice Munro? and if not, why are you reading a short story discussion board? (kidding, sort of).

Later,
Bill


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We have met the enemy and he is us. - Pogo
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Sat Jul 30, 2011 1:56 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
Hey Bill, my name is Bill, too, and I love Alice Munro's stories, though I've read only Too Much Happiness, Runaway, and The View from Castle Rock. Another BT person, saffron, is a fan of hers, too. Her stories are textured, layered, well-plotted and have a great particularity about them that propels them to the universal. She's deserving of fandom, so don't worry.



Sat Jul 30, 2011 6:38 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
@ Saffron & Bill: Have either of you read "The Bear Came over the Mountain," a story from "Hateship, Friendship,Courtship, Marriage," the one on which the film "Away from Her" was based? I have a question about it if anyone here recalls it. Thanks.



Mon Aug 01, 2011 9:12 am
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Post Re: Alice Munro
@minibar,
I've read it, though it was a while back. I have not seen the film (though I have been intending to). I've got it right here so I can look at it to refresh my memory - What's your question?


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Mon Aug 01, 2011 1:21 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
@chancew1 -
Probably it's been too long for you to answer this, but anyway: A friend of mine read the last page and claimed he didn't understand that it was Aubrey that Fiona embraced; he thought it was Grant! To excuse his misunderstanding he claimed that Munro should have named names and not just said "he", which he thought was sloppy writing because there were two men in the room.

Of course I had no trouble knowing who was who.

You think his is a plausible criticism at all?



Last edited by minibar on Mon Aug 01, 2011 7:22 pm, edited 1 time in total.



Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:18 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
minibar wrote:
@ Saffron & Bill: Have either of you read "The Bear Came over the Mountain," a story from "Hateship, Friendship,Courtship, Marriage," the one on which the film "Away from Her" was based? I have a question about it if anyone here recalls it. Thanks.

Yes! I have this book checked out from the library right now! I am so excited to come home from my vacation to find posts about Alice Munro. What a welcome home. My stuff is all over the place (hiking gear from a 7 day, 81 mile backpack trip to TN & NC), so I'll pop back online later to make comments on the story.



Mon Aug 01, 2011 4:30 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
Saffron wrote:
I am so excited to come home from my vacation to find posts about Alice Munro. What a welcome home. My stuff is all over the place (hiking gear from a 7 day, 81 mile backpack trip to TN & NC), so I'll pop back online later to make comments on the story.

Sounds like a great trip. I can relate to that feeling of stuff all over the place after a backpacking trip especially if its been raining and everything is soaked, then stuff can be extra messy! I like Alice Munro stories, many of them are about a part of the world I'm familiar with. Sometimes the true character of a place surfaces in stories about the small towns and rural areas. It's interesting that we do not pay much attention to short story fiction on Booktalk. I think perhaps we are giving this form of fiction 'short shrift'... and I think Alice might concur.



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Saffron
Mon Aug 01, 2011 6:16 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
@minibar

Ok, I've reread "The Bear Came over the Mountain" and carefully looked at the last few paragraphs. I too, think that it is Grant that Fiona embraced.

There is this sentence, "She set the book down carefully and stood up and lifted her arms to put them around him."

Aubrey is in a wheelchair. She would not stand up and lift her arms to put them around him. I don't think that Munro would be careless enough at the end of a story to have her say "lifted" unless she meant to haver her embrace a standing person.

Now, if I were writing this story, I would have purposefully left it as ambiguous as possible as to which man she embraced. That would enable the reader to make up their own mind. That is a bit too postmodern for Alice Munro IMO.

It doesn't really matter though, does it? The story isn't about Fiona or Aubrey, they are merely part of the setting. The protagonist is Grant and the story is how he is able to set his own vanity aside and set in motion a plan to bring Aubrey back to the home so that his wife will be happy. Grant has his flaws that the story spends a lot of time detailing and emphasising - you can almost feel Alice Munro calibrating the litany of Grant's sins, they are there but they are not so bad as to be unforgivable - but, in the end, he is willing to do what it takes to bring his wife of 50 years whatever pleasure he can.

At any rate, that's my take. You say you had no trouble knowing who was who. What about the story leads you to be clear that it was Aubrey?

Very interesting question.
Later,
Bill
http://billchance.org


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We have met the enemy and he is us. - Pogo
My Blog, Things Are Not Going to Turn Out Well
http://billchance.org


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Fri Aug 05, 2011 1:26 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
@chancew1: Wow. You're very convincing on the ending, and thanks. In my defense I'd finished the story late at night, two months ago, and hadn't had a chance to see it again, since I'd loaned the book out. Also, I wasn't prepared for a last minute surprise from Munro, since that's not her usual practice, and maybe most significantly, the slight ambiguity allowed me to create the ending I wanted--arguably a bit more sophisticated than hers. As you say, either way, Grant has achieved his purpose and in some ways his redemption. I told my friend I regarded Bear as one of the weirdest love stories I'd encountered, and one of the most moving. And that still stands. Cheers and best regards.



Sat Aug 06, 2011 10:19 am
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Post Re: Alice Munro
Hello: I am new here
and just saw a film
taken from Alice Munro's book

It was:
the Lives of Girls and Women
wow, quite a film
and now I have Away from her
which I just found out she had written
so have yet to watch this


Now, I would ask any of you fans
to please recommend to me some of her
best works, no I have not read any yet
but know I would just love her books

I am now reading a piece on her childhood days
with foxes, etc.


Sedona :)



Thu Mar 29, 2012 5:55 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
sedonagal wrote:
Hello: I am new here
and just saw a film
taken from Alice Munro's book

It was:
the Lives of Girls and Women
wow, quite a film
and now I have Away from her
which I just found out she had written
so have yet to watch this

Sedona :)

Away from Her is the movie that goes with The Bear...... I do not know the movie The Lives of Girls & Women. I would say almost any collection of short stories by A. Munro is a winner. I will try to remember my favorite.



Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:13 pm
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Post Re: Alice Munro
Saffron wrote:
Away from Her is the movie that goes with The Bear...... I do not know the movie The Lives of Girls & Women. I would say almost any collection of short stories by A. Munro is a winner. I will try to remember my favorite.

Too Much Happiness



Thu Mar 29, 2012 6:14 pm
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