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10 thoughts on “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories

  1. says:

    A COLLECTION OF PARADIGM SHIFTS INTO OTHER FOLKS PRIVATE HEADSPACE When this diminutive little lady from small town Ontario, Canada won the Nobel Prize for Literature she remarked I want my stories to move people I don t care if they re women, men or children I want my stories to be something about life that makes people say not oh, isn t that the truth but to feel some kind of reward from the writing And that doesn t mean it has to be a happy ending or anything, but just that eve A COLLECTION OF PARADIGM SHIFTS INTO OTHER FOLKS PRIVATE HEADSPACE When this diminutive little lady from small town Ontario, Canada won the Nobel Prize for Literature she remarked I want my stories to move people I don t care if they re women, men or children I want my stories to be something about life that makes people say not oh, isn t that the truth but to feel some kind of reward from the writing And that doesn t mean it has to be a happy ending or anything, but just that everything the story tells moves the reader in such a way that you feel you are a different person when you finish it Want to get out of your skin for a few hours Alice Munro will take you there And you ll find out for yourself how Lucky you Really ARE to be Yourself.For Alice Munro takes the Fools Bells off from other folks heads for us examineYou know, the truly Modern Fools Bells that folks wear are the heavy Balls and Chains of marital and extramarital m langes and their resultant Fatal Aporias.The most ingenious traps we lay in Life are those we, ourselves, fall into Too far gone beyond the magical voice of the Woodthrush calling through the Fog , which we all too knowingly call the worn out song of Ole Time Religion , and the rather faded, trite old Song of Innocence.So, like that famous fictional character Christian, we are perpetually swamped up to our eyelids in the same old dreary Slough of Despond Back in 1984, when I was a recently promoted management trainee, I had a supervisor and beloved mentor named Jim.Jim was 6 or 7 years older than I was, but nevertheless retained a preppy style crewcut and a boyish grin He was a gee whiz, can do type guy with a boundless enthusiasm for cutting edge management development techniques And they worked for me 10 years later, boyish enthusiasm intact, he gave our officers a crash course on the latest buzz on thinking outside of the box developing a flexible readiness for Paradigm Shifts.And that s exactly what Alice Munro gives us Paradigm shifts.You know, if you re trapped in the Slough, all the new paradigm shifts in management theory go right over your head as just so much bunk So you get tired and let the Smart Young Bucks outrun you.Sound familiar But not so the ever Young Ms Munro One moment we re working through her intricate constructions of another person s life and character and by the end of that story, we re right inside that character s headspace.How come we never even KNEW how drastically different we are from each other And how come we all STILL make like we re all playing from the same sheet of dreary music Alice Munro shows us how EACH of us is actually trying to keep an unruly symphony orchestra playing together in our heads from a secret centre, performing the music that is US, in our separation from OTHERS.Her eye is so sharp and her hearing is so acute I cannot think of any other way of explaining the essence of the miracle she performs.These are not especially unpleasant stories, nor are all exclusively pleasant BUT THEY RE ALL OUTSIDE THE BOX.AND free of the Slough They re meticulously crafted stories about individuals so SPECIAL, in their own ways, that you ll have BECOME them for a few moments by the time you finish them.And wow they really do expand your mind.Just read this remarkable collection and you ll see for yourself And you ll see yourself anew as a FREE HUMAN BEING.Finally


  2. says:

    My reaction to almost every movie I watch is to announce loudly to the room after finishing it, WELL, I LL NEVER GET THOSE TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE BACK I get peevish and resentful after sitting through bad movies, and I usually need to read a new book or watch Colin Firth as Mr Darcy emerging from the lake in his wet, white shirt before I can shake other bad movie images from my mind.So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Hateship, Loveship with Kristen Wiig, and I not only liked it, I kin My reaction to almost every movie I watch is to announce loudly to the room after finishing it, WELL, I LL NEVER GET THOSE TWO HOURS OF MY LIFE BACK I get peevish and resentful after sitting through bad movies, and I usually need to read a new book or watch Colin Firth as Mr Darcy emerging from the lake in his wet, white shirt before I can shake other bad movie images from my mind.So, imagine my surprise when I stumbled upon Hateship, Loveship with Kristen Wiig, and I not only liked it, I kinda loved it Like, I loved it so much, I watched it twice in one week Wha And, how is this a book review, you might be ready to askOkay, I m getting there So, I loved Hateship, Loveship SO much, I did a little homework and found out that it was based on a short story by Canadian writer, Alice Munro A short story of only 54 pages was the inspiration for that break my heart I surprisingly love this film And, even though I think it s the best story of this collection, the book includes nine.Nine stories total and what do they have in common Well, as the doctor in the ninth story declares, We don t know, do we Till we see the pattern of the deterioration, we really can t say Yes, patterns of deterioration of marriages, of health, of mental and physical stability, of lives and each of the nine stories features a prominent female protagonist who is typically a part of a childless couple Yet, for the men reading this review please don t be hasty in dismissing this as Feminist Lit Women are the featured leads, so to speak, but we come to know their men, too And unless isolation, loneliness, and fears of death and diminished health have suddenly become exclusive to women, I think the universal quality of these issues would pull in any readers.But it s not fluff And it s not entertainment This is a sturdy collection of serious thinks and big feels Looks like Ms Munro s been paying some close attention to people


  3. says:

    A lifetime of reading Alice MunroI feel like I ve grown up with Alice Munro I studied some of her short stories as a student high school and college I took a senior seminar in her work at university long before she won the Nobel Prize for Literature I ve seen her read several times my favourite was when she read the masterpiece Differently in its entirety And I continue to read and reread her work Some of her stories are so familiar I can recite whole passages by heart Nerd confess A lifetime of reading Alice MunroI feel like I ve grown up with Alice Munro I studied some of her short stories as a student high school and college I took a senior seminar in her work at university long before she won the Nobel Prize for Literature I ve seen her read several times my favourite was when she read the masterpiece Differently in its entirety And I continue to read and reread her work Some of her stories are so familiar I can recite whole passages by heart Nerd confession I once played a game with a friend where he read passages from Munro and I had to identify the story My favourite Munro is mid period, from Who Do You Think You Arecalled The Beggar Maid in the U.S and UK , published in 1978, through Friend Of My Youth 1990 After that, I felt her stories got a little too complex, too compressed They re still brilliant, each as full of life and incident as novels, but many of them don t have the directness and emotional impact of the early middle work This collection is from a decade later, in 2001, and it s very fine.If you know Munro s work, there are echoes from earlier stories There s the uncouth, loud country relation visiting the narrator who s risen in social stature Post And Beam there s a childhood prank that ends up affecting people s destinies Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage there are young people who have a chaste connection who meet up again in later life Nettles there s the memory of a brief sexual liaison that helps sustain a character through the rest of her life What Is Remembered and there s the bright young narrator, an aspiring writer, who rejects a substitute maternal figure working woman in her life Family Furnishings.What I always love about Munro is just how deep she goes into human interaction.There s a passage in Floating Bridge, a powerful story about a couple, one of whom has just been to see a physician about how her cancer has progressed This passage has nothing really to do with the plot, such as it is, but it s so true to life When Neal was around other people, even one person other than Jinny, his behavior changed, becominganimated, enthusiastic, ingratiating Jinny was not bothered by that any they had been together for twenty one years And she herself changed as a reaction, she used to think becomingreserved and slightly ironic Some masquerades were necessary, or just too habitual to be dropped.How true to life Every word is necessary, even that she used to think, implying that she s changed The title story, the longest in the collection and one that spans decades, is a marvellous tale that keeps shifting perspectives Imagine holding up a valuable jewel and seeing how the light catches it from different angles that s sort of the effect The first perspective is from a smug, small town station agent The station agent often tried a little teasing with women, especially the plain ones who seemed to appreciate it Then later She spoke to him in a loud voice as if he was deaf or stupid, and there was something wrong with the way she pronounced her words An accent He thought of Dutch the Dutch were moving in around here but she didn t have the heft of the Dutch women or the nice pink skin or the fair hair She might have been under forty, but what did it matter No beauty queen, ever Oh, my Munro knows her people so well their vanities, their prejudices, their secret desires A few pages later, the same woman described above goes shopping for a dress she hopes will be her wedding outfit, and the shopkeeper named Milady comes alive in a few brief, sharp strokes If aliens ever wanted to learn about humans, all they d have to do would be read Munro The final story, The Bear Came Over The Mountain, was made into an Oscar nominated film by Sarah Polley called Away From Her It s about a philandering husband whose wife, living with Alzheimer s, can no longer remember him and strikes up a very close friendship with another man in the same facility The economical way Munro sketches out the couple s life, especially the husband s affairs he was a professor before being forced to retire makes you understand everyone It s very interesting to read in light of the MeToo movement Flipping through this story again to write this review made me realize why I love Munro so much She presents humanity with all its flaws intact She sees people so clearly but she doesn t judge them They re all just a part of the carnival of life She forgives them She forgives us.I ve always felt that some of Munro s book titles could be interchangeable This book s title named after a game that kids, often girls, will play, a variation on the He loves me he loves me not flower game is expansive But it could just as easily have been The Progress Of Love or The Love Of A Good Woman.This is an exquisite collection Definitely Loveship


  4. says:

    I sometimes get into conversations with people who have a hard time connecting with the short story format they say that they hardly have time to muster an emotional involvement in the characters and events, before the story is over To those readers I might recommend Alice Munro True, I have only experienced one of her collections, but the stories in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage are nothing if not emotionally affecting or crushingly tragic, I suppose, if you want to g I sometimes get into conversations with people who have a hard time connecting with the short story format they say that they hardly have time to muster an emotional involvement in the characters and events, before the story is over To those readers I might recommend Alice Munro True, I have only experienced one of her collections, but the stories in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage are nothing if not emotionally affecting or crushingly tragic, I suppose, if you want to get specific about the thing Indeed, the understated yet unrelenting tragedy of small unkindnesses built up over decades and lifetimes of the inevitable disappointments and compromises that result when people do their best and their best is not very good of the human tendency to feel pride in one s flaws and shame in one s strengths all this is the lifeblood of Munro s collection, and there s no denying that it sbitter than sweet At times, the bitterness becomes overpowering At other times, Munro strikes a compelling balance between the deep sadness in all her characters particularly her female characters and the moments of true connection they manage to glean from the world around them, often at unexpected moments Munro, it should be stressed, is a magnificent craftsman One of the reasons these stories, at 20 or 30 pages, feel like whole super condensed novels, is their author s extreme economy of language, her ability to establish whole histories with one or two well chosen words, which often occur in a paragraph seemingly devoted to another task entirely In the story Post and Beam, for example, the graduate student Lionel contemplates the married life of his professor and the professor s wife, a couple he has come to socialize with on occasion He came to see them in the evenings, when the children were in bed The slight intrusions of domestic life the cry of the baby reaching them through an open window, the scolding Brendan sometimes had to give Lorna about toys left lying on the grass, instead of being put back in the sandbox, the call from the kitchen asking if she had remembered to buy limes for the gin and tonic all seemed to cause a shiver, a tightening of Lionel s tall, narrow body and intent, distrustful face.Not only do we get a portrait of a summer evening here, the ambient twilight stimuli as the adults have a drink together, but we also get Lionel s aversion to the everyday accouterments of married life he comes after the children are in bed, shivers at Lorna and Brendan s everyday interactions We also get a solid idea of the dynamic between Lorna and Brendan their marriage follows traditional gender roles in that she is the one expected to take responsibility for cleaning up the children s toys and doing the shopping if she slips up, Brendan not just allowed but obliged had to to give her a scolding about it That had to might indicate, since we are in his head at the moment, Lionel s point of view, his acceptance of the standard husband wife hierarchy although the rest of the story gives the impression that none of these characters would object to the phrase, even as the lack of equality and human understanding in her marriage is making Lorna actively unhappy Even the addition of remembered the call from the kitchen asking if she had remembered to buy limes for the gin and tonic adds to multiple aspects of the marital portrait On the one hand, it speaks to the familiarity of husband and wife probably everyone who has shared a household has yelled this type of question at one time or another On the other hand, combined with Brendan s disconnection from his children and scolding of his wife, his phrasing adds to the picture of his domineering nature This is not a man who goes to the store to buy limes himself, but tasks his wife with buying them, and then calls from the kitchen to ask if she remembered his request, rather than walking into the other room to ask her or heaven forbid looking for the limes himself One can understand why Lionel might not be jumping on board with the whole marriage proposition, if Lorna and Brendan are his role models.And in fact, Brendan is largely representative of the male characters in Munro s book If I have a complaint about the collection, it s this uniformity of male callousness although we occasionally see a long married couple who are genuinely caring toward one another if mutually deeply flawed , or a pair of total strangers who manage to achieve a moment of unfettered connection, for the most part Munro s men are controlling, unfaithful jerks, taking the women around them for granted and generally acting like petulant toddlers And I don t mean to suggest that Munro does not evoke this character type with great skill and sensitivity, because she absolutely does and in fact, many of these male characters, in her hands, end up eliciting some degree of sympathy in the reader s mind quite a feat considering their collective behavior Munro s analysis of the gender roles in these stories acknowledges that the mainstream culture of the 1950s and 60s set up young men to be the assholes they sometimes turned out, just as those same decades socialized women to be submissive and self denigrating, simultaneously responsible for raising children and reduced to a child like state themselves In the excellent story What is Remembered, one of the highlights of the collection for me, the narrator writes Young husbands were stern, in those days Just a short time before, they had been suitors, almost figures of fun, knock kneed and desperate in their sexual agonies Now, bedded down, they turned resolute and disapproving Off to work every morning, clean shaven, youthful necks in knotted ties, days spent in unknown labors, home again at suppertime to take a critical glance at the evening meal and to shake out the newspaper, hold it up between themselves and the muddle of the kitchen, the ailments and emotions, the babies What a lot they had to learn How to kowtow to bosses and how to manage wives.So the men don t have a roadmap for how to live, anythan the women do They, too, are working to conform to certain societal expectations Yes Even so, I ve known a good number of men from this generation or slightly older my grandparents generation , and most of them were not domineering, not unkind to their wives or dismissive of their wives opinions True, I didn t know them when they were young men Munro s older characters are significantly gentler with each other than her younger ones, albeit sometimes oddly so To some degree even the younger characters are not being unkind given their social context they assume it s the simple truth that a husband s role is to dictate and a wife s is to obey This is a systemic problemthan a fault of individuals Still Munro s bone of contention got a bit monotonous at times, as much as I agree with her insights The sameness of male female relationships in the collection dulled the impact of stories which, individually or invaried company, would have all packed the same kind of punch as the first few did.In addition to said bones, though, this collection offers lots of meat It will be rewarding to return to individual stories in the future, which I think will be apalatable way of appreciating Munro than reading a collection of hers cover to cover And there is plenty here to appreciate the role of memory throughout these stories, for example, and how we mold our recollections to fill the functions we need them to, forgetting or imagining where it is convenient Or how Munro so cleanly and expertly handles shifts in time, quietly moving the reader forward and backward in a given history with no unnecessary apparatus and hardly a hiccup in the narrative flow It s not a Woolfian vision of simultaneity while the characters often recollect their pasts, the past is not present to them as it is to Clarissa Dalloway or Peter Walsh but the narrative engine is so weightless and nimble that it can position the reader neatly at any desired perspective point vis vis the action, and whisk them to a different one with no fuss at all, with absolute clarity The opening paragraphs of Family Furnishings are excellent at this, and the titular story shows a similar character based flexibility in its use of a roving limited third person narrator Munro is not comfort reading, in other words, but in small doses I will definitely be returning to her hard, occasionally tender, lying world


  5. says:

    I find myself shamefully admitting that I have made a huge effort to finish this book, it is not the first time I read Alice Munro, but in this work I found myself in serious difficulty to appreciate anything.I have no idea if this was due to the Italian translation, in my opinion not perfect, but the writing seemed to me tedious and syntactically too pompous and unnecessarily complex.There was not even one of the characters that somehow captured my soul, it s a bit like I read a warranty man I find myself shamefully admitting that I have made a huge effort to finish this book, it is not the first time I read Alice Munro, but in this work I found myself in serious difficulty to appreciate anything.I have no idea if this was due to the Italian translation, in my opinion not perfect, but the writing seemed to me tedious and syntactically too pompous and unnecessarily complex.There was not even one of the characters that somehow captured my soul, it s a bit like I read a warranty manual of some appliance.Love, marriage friendship I can compare them like this I found fluffy words in a windy day I also asked to a dear friend of mine who teaches Literature at the University how it is possible to have had such an indifferent reaction to this great writer, And I heard the answer that so many people find themselves full in love with one of her opera, and then remain unscathed after the reading of a second book of her I feel like I betrayed someone or something.Mi ritrovo vergognosamente ad ammettere di aver fatto una fatica enorme a terminare questo libro, non la prima volta che leggo Alice Munro, ma in questa opera mi sono trovata in seria difficolt ad apprezzare qualche cosa..Non ho idea se ci sia dipeso dalla traduzione italiana, a mio parere non perfetta, purtroppo la scrittura mi sembrata tediosa e sintatticamente troppo pomposa e inutilmente complessa.Non vi stato neanche uno dei personaggi che abbia in qualche modo catturato il mio animo, un p come se avessi letto un manuale di garanzia di qualche elettrodomestico.A, matrimonio amicizia posso paragonarle cos le ho trovate parole vaporose in una giornata di vento Ho chiesto anche ad una amica docente di Letteratura all Universit , come sia possibile aver avuto una reazione cos indifferente a questa grande scritttrice, e mi sono sentita rispondere che in tantissimi si ritrovano ad amarla alla follia per un opera, e poi rimanere imperterriti finita la lettura di un suo secondo libro Mi sento come se avessi tradito qualcuno o qualcosa.


  6. says:

    Every time I read Munro, I wonder what took me so long to get back to her But it s good to have space with her Her stories are overwhelming, leaving you thinking long past you ve read their last pages A story I thought would be my least favorite What Is Remembered , I read a second time because my mind was completely changed by its end Her characters linger in the mind and the themes family furniture suicide marriages of the 1950s and 60s, and their expectations extraneous people as Every time I read Munro, I wonder what took me so long to get back to her But it s good to have space with her Her stories are overwhelming, leaving you thinking long past you ve read their last pages A story I thought would be my least favorite What Is Remembered , I read a second time because my mind was completely changed by its end Her characters linger in the mind and the themes family furniture suicide marriages of the 1950s and 60s, and their expectations extraneous people as comfort, or bridges need to percolate Nothing is clear cut in any of these finely crafted stories, or in the lovely prose of her endings in particular, though I love the way she words everything, her articulation of feelings and of moments that meanthan something momentary Her handling of time is masterful Each story is as rich as a novel.One story in particular Floating Bridge reminded me that life is not one big epiphany like some short stories make it seem , but a series of mini epiphanies, not all of which will stick, most having only that momentary effect, but even that helps with life s rough spots


  7. says:

    Alice Munro, where have you been all my life The level of observation and psychological insight on show in this collection, the ability to explore and portray complex human emotions in just a few sentences these are the reasons I read fiction I feel giddy about the many Munro books I have yet to read.There are nine stories in this one, set mostly in western Canada The protagonists are mainly women and over the course of only a few pages, we learn so much about their lives The love and los Alice Munro, where have you been all my life The level of observation and psychological insight on show in this collection, the ability to explore and portray complex human emotions in just a few sentences these are the reasons I read fiction I feel giddy about the many Munro books I have yet to read.There are nine stories in this one, set mostly in western Canada The protagonists are mainly women and over the course of only a few pages, we learn so much about their lives The love and loss that has shaped them, the missed opportunities they still think about, the brief encounters that made an enormous impact on them In Nettles, the narrator is reunited many years later with her teenage crush, and her emotions run from exhilaration to disappointment Floating Bridge tells of a cancer patient who is reliant on her flaky husband, and an unexpected respite from her predicament In The Bear Came Over The Mountain, an unfaithful husband has to manage his wife s dementia and adapt to her contentment without him.But my absolute favourite was the title story It s about a plain country girl named Johanna, without family or friends, working as a housekeeper for an old manHer teeth were crowded to the front of her mouth as if they were ready for an argumentUp to now she has accepted her life of little prospect, but hope suddenly springs in the form of correspondence with a man on the other side of the country, who has been hinting at his own loneliness and how much he thinks of Johanna She decides to risk it all on this one shot at happiness, buying a one way ticket to the distant town where her penpal resides and spending a large sum on a fancy dress in which she might be marriedEven when she was younger she could never have contemplated such extravagance, not just in the matter of money but in expectations, in the preposterous hope of transformation, and blissWhat she doesn t know is that the man s estranged daughter has been cruelly fabricating her father s replies, and he has no idea that Johanna is on her way to spend the rest of her life with him It s an utterly compelling read and has one of the most satisfying endings I have ever encountered.All I can say is that I m amazed I didn t get to Alice Munro sooner The depth of these meticulously crafted tales, her precise examination of everyday life, her sharp observation of human behaviour all of these things are right up my street Maybe a couple of the stories didn t speak to me as much as others, but the ones I loved, I really loved I can t wait to readof her work


  8. says:

    Reading Munro is daunting at first you can t read her stories like other people s I thought I could get through at my usual 75% concentration, skimming past the details of the cousin s wedding and blah blah other accessory nonsense But with Munro, nothing can be taken as accessory You ll read for three pages, realise you haven t been paying attention and that Munro won t throw you a pronoun other than she , and you re like, Who is she Ahhh, I ll keep reading for a fewpages and pick Reading Munro is daunting at first you can t read her stories like other people s I thought I could get through at my usual 75% concentration, skimming past the details of the cousin s wedding and blah blah other accessory nonsense But with Munro, nothing can be taken as accessory You ll read for three pages, realise you haven t been paying attention and that Munro won t throw you a pronoun other than she , and you re like, Who is she Ahhh, I ll keep reading for a fewpages and pick it up , and then she kisses him and five years later he dies and the story ends.So I got to page 60, realised I wasn t picking up what was going on, and started again And suddenly I was trained to read Munro, and in so trained, I realised I could probably read just about any of her books, since all the stories are written in the same clear, conversational tone, dipping off the narrative for nanoseconds to add beautiful psychological insights about the characters and most of the time, by extension, about people you know.Sure, these stories are very Chekhovian, but never quite as tragic There is muchlife affirmation, slowing down to appreciate little moments in people s lives that at the time didn t seem so important but get them thinking hard decades later when they see a particular flower or fabric pattern that throws them back to their uncle s farm as kids Wonder for other lives unlived is never delivered without love of the path chosen, and this balance permeates the stories in many other aspects.Munro is a beautiful writer, and I can t wait to read all her books, and here s a tangible reason why you should too well done, literature I knew it


  9. says:

    If this book had been a novel, I would have put it down after the first 50 pages However, because it is a collection of short stories, I convinced myself that maybe the next story would beinteresting if I didn t keep reading, I might not be giving Munro a fair chance.Alas, I reached the end of the book and felt nothing but relief relief that it was over Munro is a lovely writer, with a good command of language, but her choice of subject matter, story development, and characters was uni If this book had been a novel, I would have put it down after the first 50 pages However, because it is a collection of short stories, I convinced myself that maybe the next story would beinteresting if I didn t keep reading, I might not be giving Munro a fair chance.Alas, I reached the end of the book and felt nothing but relief relief that it was over Munro is a lovely writer, with a good command of language, but her choice of subject matter, story development, and characters was uninspiring With a title like Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, I expected at least a little bit of drama or intrigue Or, if Munro left out suspense, then I expected at least a few stories to make me feel something anger or sadness or indignation Instead, what I felt if anything was melancholy But really, I mostly felt bored and restless to get on with it This summary by onereviewer gives my impression of the book to a T To be fair, I admit Munro is a good writer, technically speaking It s just that she doesn t write about anything interesting Quick story rundown a married lady has cancer, urinates in someone s driveway, then kisses their son The end Yay, that was neat


  10. says:

    Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is my fifth book by Alice Munro and also the least pleasing Munro writes exceptionally fine prose and if I were to rate this collection of short stories on prose alone, I would give this five stars I continue to marvel at Munro s facility to express the intractable, the sublimal, and the unutterable with startling clarity The nine stories depict a host of flawed individuals who make no apology for their flawed lives They are difficult to re Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is my fifth book by Alice Munro and also the least pleasing Munro writes exceptionally fine prose and if I were to rate this collection of short stories on prose alone, I would give this five stars I continue to marvel at Munro s facility to express the intractable, the sublimal, and the unutterable with startling clarity The nine stories depict a host of flawed individuals who make no apology for their flawed lives They are difficult to read because the patterns of failed relationships and ailing marriages repeat themselves to a nauseating degree There are stories about individuals who are disgruntled with their lot in life and who go all out to do what they can to escape the confines of their circumstances This is evident in the titular story of a poor and needy housekeeper using her wits to raise her social status via marriage assisted fortuitously by two wicked teenagers who wrote love letters on her behalf as a prank It is also revealed in Home Furnishings , a coming of age story of a rural Ontario girl, whose relationship with an aunt she used to adore for leading a glamorous city life, turns sour A university education and social opportunities shape her identity in ways that make her appraise her family relationships with new eyes Scorn and resentment replace admiration and respect Of a lie that her father felt obliged to tell this aunt, she said,That was the kind of lie that I hoped never to have to tell again, the contempt I hoped never to have to show, about the things that really mattered to me And in order not to have to do that, I would pretty well have to stay clear of the people I used to knowHowever, the narrator herself is not all that different from her aunt Both are writers of sorts both have had failed relationships Family furnishings has taken on new poignancy Whether we like it or not, our families are inextricably a part of our identity and destiny In Floating Bridge , a terminally ill woman has an unexpected reaction to news that chemotherapy has shrunk her cancer cells She is upset because she realizes that it has removed a certain low grade freedom Almost all the stories cast marriage in a horribly negative light Infidelity and adultery are dominant themes In Comfort and Nettles, infidelity is subtle and lurks in the shadows While Comfort captures Nina s grief of losing her husband to suicide, it is strangely out of place to read about her entertaining a fleeting attraction to Ed, the embalmer The potential for dalliance hangs in the air and strikes me as distasteful In Nettles, two childhood friends, both married and having weathered disappointments, are reunited in adulthood The tension for physical intimacy is rendered palpable and one hears the echo of a love that was not usable, that knew its place The stories about adultery are gravely unsettling In What Is Remembered, Meriel, a married woman is introduced to a doctor when she and her husband are attending a funeral in a different city The doctor offers her a ride for a social visit she needs to make Within the space of an afternoon, a mutual attraction morphs into lust and the inevitable Meriel is to remember every detail of that afternoon of betrayal for the rest of her life I am repulsed at how Munro cast adultery as a sweet offering to be savored over and over To continually revisit aspects of an illicit intimacy that were missed at earlier recollections is the ultimate betrayal In The Bear Came Over the Mountain, Grant, a philanderer, finds himself in an odd situation when his 70 year old wife Fiona who has dementia developed a romance with Aubrey, another dementia patient in a nursing home It is also oddly touching to learn the extent to which Grant goes to bring Aubrey who has been discharged back to visit Fiona when she misses Aubrey Grant loves his wife but prides himself as being a better man than others who cheat on their wives because unlike them, he does not leave her He makes the philandering life seem like a cross to bearNowhere was there any acknowledgement that the life of a philanderer involved acts of kindness and generosity and even sacrifice Many times he had catered to a woman s pride, to her fragility, by offeringaffection or a rougher passion than anything he really feltI wish I could punch him Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage grapples with the ugly side of human relationships in a non judgmental and matter of fact manner It is as though Alice Munro is saying, This is life Take it or leave it I am leaving it


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Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories In The Her Tenth Collection The Title Story Of Which Is The Basis For The New Film Hateship Loveship , Alice Munro Achieves New Heights, Creating Narratives That Loop And Swerve Like Memory, And Conjuring Up Characters As Thorny And Contradictory As People We Know OurselvesA Tough Minded Housekeeper Jettisons The Habits Of A Lifetime Because Of A Teenager S Practical Joke A College Student Visiting Her Brassy, Unconventional Aunt Stumbles On An Astonishing Secret And Its Meaning In Her Own Life An Incorrigible Philanderer Responds With Unexpected Grace To His Wife S Nursing Home Romance Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage Is Munro At Her Best, Tirelessly Observant, Serenely Free Of Illusion, Deeply And Gloriously Humane