Friday, December 03, 2010

Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro

I have been struggling to capture the subtleties of this book. Leah Hager Cohen, writing in the New York Times, does a better job than I can. These are typical Munro short stories; they appear simple at first reading, but then hit you like a rocket attack once you get going.

Sometimes these stories aren’t really about what they seem to be about, if you know what I mean. Even when they seem to be about “big” issues (such as domestic violence, for example), their power comes from something else, from something small that happens in the last few seconds, something that you can almost overlook, like the tiny murder that is going on in the corner of the painting.

Alice Munro won the 2009 Man Booker International Prize, which honors “one writer's overall contribution to fiction on the world stage” (Man Booker Prize archive website: http://www.themanbookerprize.com/prize/mbi-archive/43). She has written a lot of books, but I’ve only read a handful. It takes me a long time to get through one of her volumes because I have to read a story, and then rest for a while. Then I can do another one. That’s how powerful they are.

(Book 52, 2010)

4 comments:

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

How coincidental ... not even five minutes ago, I posted a review of this one too. Sounds like you liked this much more than I did. :) I'll link your review to mine.

Becky Holmes said...

And here is a link to Melissa's review:

http://bettyboochronicles.blogspot.com/2010/12/book-review-too-much-happiness-stories.html

Savvy Working Gal said...

Alice Munro is one of my favorite authors, but like you I can only read her in small doses.

Shelley said...

Like life, then:

Means big.

Happens small.

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