Sunday, June 13, 2010

Alice Munro "Runaway"

It worked. I successfully guilted myself into finally finishing Runaway by leaving it in my "next review" spot for over six months! So obviously a review of the book has to start with the fact that it took me almost a year to finish it. But given my preference for romance and fantasy books aka happy endings, you could probably put most of the blame on me and not on the quality of the book.

Runaway is a collection of short stories. The one that stays with me most completely is the title story about a neighbor who helps a young girl run away. Then there is one near the end that includes some of the more bizarre/tragic plot twists that you typically find in today's novels by Anita Shreve etc. But the brilliance of Munro is that even when she uses a plot framework that would move the story along by itself, she still brilliantly crafts the characters.

Munro hardly ever writes happy stories. She excels at exploring the darker side of humanity. For me, there were a couple stories in the middle of this book that didn't speak to me which exacerbated my difficulty in finishing the book. But she's the kind of writer that makes it easy to blame yourself for not fully engaging with a story.

Short Story Collection 2005: Don't Believe Me?

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