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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. 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.
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Readers know what they are going to get when they pick up an unfamiliar Alice Munro collection, and yet almost every page carries a bounty of unexpected action, feeling, language, and detail. Her stories are always unique, blazing an invigorating originality out of her seemingly commonplace subjects. Each collection develops her oeuvre in increments, subtly expanding her range.
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is, of course, no exception. It is a fairly conservative collection of nine stories, none of which move far beyond Munro's favored settings: the tiny towns and burgeoning cities of southern Ontario and British Columbia. There are glimpses of youth here--in the title story, an epistolary prank by two teenage girls leads to a one-sided cross country elopement and, seemingly, a happy marriage, and in "Nettles," disrupted childhood affection fleetingly returns through a chance meeting--but most of these pieces are stories of aging women and men, confronting the twin travails of death and late love. As is always the case with Munro, their plots are too elegantly elaborate to summarize, and their unsentimental power is a given; baroque praise would be futile. Read these stories--it is the only way to really understand the miracles that Munro so regularly performs. --Jack IllingworthFrom the Back Cover:
“Surely Munro’s best yet.” –The New York Times Book Review
“She is the living writer most likely to be read in a hundred years.” –Mona Simpson, The Atlantic Monthly
“One of the foremost practitioners of the art of the short story. . . . These tales have the intimacy of a family photo album and the organic feel of real life.” –The New York Times
“A writer to cherish. . . . The sheer spaciousness of Munro’s storytelling, her gift for surprising us with the truth about ourselves, has transcended national boundaries.” –Los Angeles Times Book Review
“In Munro’s hands, as in Chekhov’s, a short story is more than big enough to hold the world–and to astonish us, again and again.” —Chicago Tribune
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