Books by Alice Munro

Nearly all of Alice Munro’s fiction is set in southwestern Ontario, but her reputation as a brilliant short-story writer goes far beyond the borders of her native Canada. Her accessible, moving stories offer immediate pleasures while simultaneously explor


DEAR LIFE by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 13, 2012

"The author knows what matters, and the stories pay attention to it."
A revelation, from the most accomplished and acclaimed of contemporary short story writers. Read full book review >
TOO MUCH HAPPINESS by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 17, 2009

Every story collection from Canada's Alice Munro receives such critical plaudits that it's tempting for reviewers to recycle superlatives and readers to take her for granted. Read full book review >

THE VIEW FROM CASTLE ROCK by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 13, 2006

            The opening story of Alice Munro's rich new collection, The View from Castle Rock, glancingly refers to the talent of her ancestor, Scottish author James Hogg, for "embroidering" factual histories:  i.e., he was known to practice "some canny lying of the sort you can depend upon a writer to do."  Munro's own homespun genius for transforming received material into imaginative projections of how we've lived (and might have lived) has produced ten lavishly praised collections and an early novel-in-stories, and earned her a reputation as both the best short story writer on our continent and her country's probable first Nobel laureate.

            In addition to The View from Castle Rock, which speculates (or, if you will, "lies") about the lives of Munro's Scottish ancestors as prelude to a compact fictional semi-autobiography, Munro's matchless work is represented this fall by Carried Away, a gathering of 17 previously published stories.  The tales in Carried Away display a broad range of subject matter, emotional experience and rhetorical effects, though the settings only rarely stray beyond Munro's native rural Ontario.

            Among the best:  unsparing portrayals of the combative relationship between young protagonist Rose and her impulsive mother Flo ("Royal Beatings," "The Beggar Maid"); a crisply imagined mystery about a country wife who may have murdered her abusive husband ("A Wilderness Station"); the intricate account of a vulnerable nursing home patient protected and exploited by her frustrated husband ("The Bear Came Over the Mountain"); and the great title story, in which a timid librarian's life from youth through marriage and middle age is dominated by fantasies of the young soldier who possessed her imagination through all the years when they never met.

            The View from Castle Rock echoes these earlier works in its concluding half ("Home"), which presents an episodic biography of its unnamed narrator, from her Ontario girlhood through first intimations of romance ("Lying Under the Apple Tree"), maturity and marriage, the aging and deaths of loved ones and confirmation of her own mortality.  But the book's great achievements are the five long stories that trace the harsh lives of her Scots ancestors (the Laidlaws) in a bleak land offering "No Advantages," their emigration to North America, what and how they endured and what, so far as their descendant can piece together and imagine, became of them.

            This book within a book eloquently memorializes our common past and the manner in which it formed us and continues to shape our destinies.  Alice Munro has honored the world of her fathers and mothers in an echo of the promise made to the medieval Everyman:  "I will go with thee and be thy guide."  In the last century, we have had no better guide than this indispensable author.

 

Read full book review >
CARRIED AWAY by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 29, 2006

The opening story of Alice Munro's rich new collection, The View from Castle Rock, glancingly refers to the talent of her ancestor, Scottish author James Hogg, for "embroidering" factual histories:  i.e., he was known to practice "some canny lying of the sort you can depend upon a writer to do."  Munro's own homespun genius for transforming received material into imaginative projections of how we've lived (and might have lived) has produced ten lavishly praised collections and an early novel-in-stories, and earned her a reputation as both the best short story writer on our continent and her country's probable first Nobel laureate.

            In addition to The View from Castle Rock, which speculates (or, if you will, "lies") about the lives of Munro's Scottish ancestors as prelude to a compact fictional semi-autobiography, Munro's matchless work is represented this fall by Carried Away, a gathering of 17 previously published stories.  The tales in Carried Away display a broad range of subject matter, emotional experience and rhetorical effects, though the settings only rarely stray beyond Munro's native rural Ontario.

            Among the best:  unsparing portrayals of the combative relationship between young protagonist Rose and her impulsive mother Flo ("Royal Beatings," "The Beggar Maid"); a crisply imagined mystery about a country wife who may have murdered her abusive husband ("A Wilderness Station"); the intricate account of a vulnerable nursing home patient protected and exploited by her frustrated husband ("The Bear Came Over the Mountain"); and the great title story, in which a timid librarian's life from youth through marriage and middle age is dominated by fantasies of the young soldier who possessed her imagination through all the years when they never met.

            The View from Castle Rock echoes these earlier works in its concluding half ("Home"), which presents an episodic biography of its unnamed narrator, from her Ontario girlhood through first intimations of romance ("Lying Under the Apple Tree"), maturity and marriage, the aging and deaths of loved ones and confirmation of her own mortality.  But the book's great achievements are the five long stories that trace the harsh lives of her Scots ancestors (the Laidlaws) in a bleak land offering "No Advantages," their emigration to North America, what and how they endured and what, so far as their descendant can piece together and imagine, became of them.

            This book within a book eloquently memorializes our common past and the manner in which it formed us and continues to shape our destinies.  Alice Munro has honored the world of her fathers and mothers in an echo of the promise made to the medieval Everyman:  "I will go with thee and be thy guide."  In the last century, we have had no better guide than this indispensable author.

Read full book review >
RUNAWAY by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2004

"In a word: magnificent. "
Retrospect and resolution, neither fully comprehended nor ultimately satisfying: such are the territories the masterful Munro explores in her tenth collection. Read full book review >
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 14, 2001

"Rich, mature, authoritative stories veined with respectful attention to the complexity and singularity of vagrant, cluttered and compromised lives."
Its dreadful title is just about the only thing wrong with this stunning tenth collection from Canada's matchless chronicler of women's external fates, inner lives, and painful journeys toward and away from self-understanding (The Love of a Good Woman, 1998, etc.). Read full book review >
THE LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Nov. 1, 1998

The Canadian Chekhov's ninth book (after her recent triumphs Friend of My Youth, 1990, and Open Secrets, 1994) contains eight long stories that resemble Munro's mature work in their tendency toward leisurely development and complex narrative. Read full book review >

SELECTED STORIES by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Oct. 1, 1996

"The collection of the year.""
A rich selection of 28 compact and resonant stories (they're novels in miniature, more often than not) drawn from seven highly praised collections previously published by the Ontario writer. Read full book review >
OPEN SECRETS by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 26, 1994

"Storytelling made essential by one of the true pros."
With a few strokes of her pen, Munro (Friend of My Youth, 1990) has the unerring ability to familiarize us with a foreign country or the entire life of another person. Read full book review >
FRIEND OF MY YOUTH by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: March 23, 1990

"Munro's finest collection yet."
By now Munro can do with the short story whatever she wishes, and get away with it. Read full book review >
THE PROGRESS OF LOVE by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Sept. 15, 1986

"Yet everything here—strong and less so—still speaks of a writer who does something of her own and recognizably different with short fiction."
More splendid examples of Munroe's unusual way with the story: how she seems to write about nothing fixed or stable, to pile on specificity upon dense specificity, then have the story resolve movingly without it having precisely homed. Read full book review >
THE MOONS OF JUPITER by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Feb. 1, 1982

"But the special passion and unique territory of her previous collections are only intermittently evident here—making this something of a let-down for Munro admirers."
In Lives of Girls and Women and The Beggar Maid (the Flo and Rose stories), Canadian short-story writer Munro drew unusual strength and sharpness from the vivid particulars of growing-up with—and growing out from—a stifling yet intense Canadian background. Read full book review >
Released: Sept. 21, 1979

"A bountifully compassionate and moving book, some portions of which have appeared in The New Yorker."
In these ten interlinked, chronological stories about Ontario girl Rose, Munro—like Joyce Carol Oates in her early novels—penetrates, with bowsprit knowledge and (unlike Oates) irrepressible tenderness, the iced-in continent of the working-class poor and the erratic course of those who get away. Read full book review >
LIVES OF GIRLS AND WOMEN by Alice Munro
FICTION & LITERATURE
Released: Jan. 4, 1972

"A very likable book — a very real book — virtues not to be underestimated or overlooked."
People's lives, in Jubilee as elsewhere, were dull, simple, amazing and unfathomable — deep caves paved with kitchen linoleum." Read full book review >