THE PROGRESS OF LOVE by Alice Munro

THE PROGRESS OF LOVE

KIRKUS REVIEW

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. As in her other work, family and friends are the ever-shifting yet tight-margined main element here--and Munro need only throw enough of these people together, intimates in one degree or another, to have her story start its gorgeous meander. In the title story, an aunt's life becomes an obscure paradigm of "love and grudges," elements that define Munro's human galaxy. The next story, "Lichen"--a man's visit to his ex-wife, bringing along his new girlfriend; yet admitting to the motherly but sad ex-wife that he has yet another girl he's interested in--is a brilliant piece of psychological writing: dependency and affection and scorn all intermixed. "Monsieur Les Deux Chapeaux"--the never-ending responsibility of one more "settled" brother for another--is nearly as good; and "White Dump"--an almost plotless story set on vacation (a number of the stories here are)--tests feelings as a tongue does a tooth that's just about to hurt. Munro's fecklessness serves her less well in others; even with their masterful detail-accumulations, they seem a little too much the laid-back same. Yet everything here--strong and less so--still speaks of a writer who does something of her own and recognizably different with short fiction.
Pub Date: Sept. 15th, 1986
ISBN: 0375724702
Page count: 324pp
Publisher: Knopf
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Aug. 15th, 1986




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