Author: Alice Munro
Genre: Short Stories, Fiction
Source: Random House of Canada
Publisher: McClelland and Stewart
First Published: November 11, 2014
First Line: "For the last couple of decades, there has been a museum in Walley, dedicated to preserving photos and butter churns and horse harnesses and an old dentist's chair and a cumbersome apple peeler and such curiosities as the pretty porcelain-and-glass insulators that were used on telegraph poles."
Book Description from GoodReads: From the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature-perhaps our most beloved author-a new selection of her peerless short fiction, gathered from the collections of the last two decades, a companion volume to "Selected Stories (1968-1994)."
Disclaimer: My sincere thanks to McClelland and Stewart and Random House of Canada for providing me with a hardcover copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.
My Review: I have never read any books in the short story genre. It just wasn't a genre I was drawn to. But when I had an opportunity to review Alice Munro's new collection of short stories I was excited for the chance to give it a try.
Munro is the 2013 Nobel Prize winner and a cherished Canadian author. She is known for writing about slices of her character's daily lives - their struggles and successes - and providing her readers with snapshots of life in small town Canada.
Like I said, this was my first time reading short stories but unfortunately I can't say that I'm a fan of the genre. I think a lot of that has to do with the feeling of being plunked down into someone's life with not a lot of time to understand them to the depth that I wanted to before the story was over. I guess I just love a good build-up to a story, time to get to know the characters and get my bearings. For example, in the story "Love of a Good Woman" the story jumped around a lot between the doctor, the three boys and the woman who nurse's the doctor's wife. It felt a bit jumbled for all this to have happened in such a short story.
There were also some instances where the reader isn't handed a nice clean ending and is left to imagine how the story would end. After finishing stories like these I felt like I was left hanging. I wanted Munro to tell me what happened to her characters. I wanted closure.
There were definitely some complicated characters in her stories. No 'cookie cutter cliches' here and some were hard to like or even get behind. There is no doubt that Alice Munro can write unique characters and capture an authentic feeling of a small Canadian town and the relationships within it. Unfortunately, I just don't think that the short story genre is for me.
My Rating: 3/5 stars