AUTHOR: ALICE MUNRO
Details: 10 Short stories
Read for The Loft Bookshop Book club
I rarely read short stories. They don’t really work for me. I always end up feeling short-changed. I’m only getting into a story and it is over. I want more from my reading than short stories seem to be able to give me. More character development, more background information and more time to get used to the tone and flow of the story.
In fact, after I finished the first story in this collection I wrote the following down: To me short stories are a bit like poems; often beautiful and fascinating, but leaving me feeling as if I’m missing something, as if I’m just not getting it. I guess I need the extra words a novel provides, the extra room for explanations.
The stories in this collection are unlike anything I’ve read before. They deal with subjects such as the killing of three young children, divorce, warped friendship, death and violence. Yet they are written in such a way that it all appears to be perfectly normal. I found myself reading about horrific events without feeling a whole lot of emotion.
Yet, the writing is beautiful and gripping. I never felt the urge to stop reading. Quite the opposite in fact, I kept on turning the pages, fascinated by what I was reading, but in the sort of detached way that makes people stop and stare at horrible accidents.
Would I be tempted to read anything else by Munro? Yes, I would. But I would want my next book by her to be a novel. It would be nice to see where this author would go if she had 300 pages to focus on one story.
I want to share one quote from this book because I thought it a funny one to find in a collection of short stories. It is taken from the second story called Fiction:
“A collection of short stories, not a novel. This in itself is a disappointment. It seems to diminish the books authority, making the author seem like somebody who is just hanging on to the gates of literature rather than safely settled inside.”