A superb new collection from one of our best and best-loved writers. Nine stories draw us immediately into that special place known as Alice Munro territory–a place where an unexpected twist of events or a suddenly recaptured memory can illumine the arc of an entire life.
The fate of a strong-minded housekeeper with a “frizz of reddish hair,” just entering the dangerous country of old-maidhood, is unintentionally (and deliciously) reversed by a teenaged girl’s practical joke. A college student visiting her aunt for the first time and recognizing the family furniture stumbles on a long-hidden secret and its meaning in her own life. An inveterate philanderer finds the tables turned when he puts his wife into an old-age home. A young cancer patient stunned by good news discovers a perfect bridge to her suddenly regained future. A woman recollecting an afternoon’s wild lovemaking with a stranger realizes how the memory of that encounter has both changed for her and sustained her through a lifetime.
Men and women are subtly revealed. Personal histories, both complex and simple, unfold in rich detail of circumstance and feeling. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage provides the deep pleasures and rewards that Alice Munro’s large and ever- growing audience has come to expect.
"Told by anyone else, these stories might seem ordinary--even sentimental. But Munro has no patience with smugness or sweetness and needs no fancy plots or exotic characters to surprise her readers. For all their superficial superficiality, her stories reach down to the deepest level of experience, where no cliches can survive. And she's just getting better....Meticulous in her observation, scrupulous in her sympathy, Munro defies expectations even as she sets them up. In her new book, she shows that she has become one of the world's foremost experts in the soul."
Polly Shulman, Newsday (Long Island, N.Y.), 11/11/2001
"In volume after volume of short stories, Alice Munro has created a world that is uniquely her own and yet is familiar and close, reflecting and touching on the realities of the lives of many readers."
John McGahern, Times Literary Supplement, 11/09/2001