Away From Her Mass Market Paperback – Apr 3 2007
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'Surely Munros best yet ... These tales have the intimacy of a family photo album and the organic feel of real life.' -- The New York Times
'The stories are illuminated by [Munros] simultaneously non-judgemental, shrewd insight and by the luminosity of her prose.' -- The Globe and Mail
About the Author
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published ten previous books-Dance of the Happy Shades; Lives of Girls and Women; Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You; Who Do You Think You Are?; The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; Friend of My Youth; Open Secrets; The Love of a Good Woman; and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage-as well as Selected Stories, an anthology of stories culled from her dazzling body of work.
During her distinguished career, Munro has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the W.H. Smith Award in the United Kingdom and, in the United States, the National Book Critics Circle Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the Lannan Literary Award, and the Rea Award for the Short Story.
In Canada, her prize-winning record is so extraordinary-three Governor General's Awards, two Giller Prizes (one of which was for Runaway), the Trillium Book Award, the Jubilee Prize, and the Libris Award, among many others-that it has been ironically suggested that as such a perennial winner, she no longer qualifies for new prizes. Abroad, acclaim continues to pour in. Both Runaway and Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage won the Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best Book Award, Caribbean and Canada region, and were chosen as one of the Books of the Year by The New York Times.
Alice Munro's stories appear regularly in The New Yorker, as well as in The Atlantic Monthly, Saturday Night, and The Paris Review. She and her husband divide their time between Clinton (in "Alice Munro country"), Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia.See all Product Description
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It is difficult not to draw parallels with the Munro story and the Polley film. There are differences but Ms. Polley gets into the heart of the story. Ms. Munro, on the other hand, can draw a picture with few, unsentimental words and can tell the reader directly what the film often can say only with facial expressions and gestures: When Ms. Munro describes at some length Grant's many affairs many years ago while married to Fiona, she informs the reader that "He had never had any intention of throwing up work and marriage and taking to the country to practice carpentry or keep bees." Or "Her hair, which was light as milkweed fluff, had gone from pale blonde to white somehow without Grant's noticing exactly when, [something difficult to show in the film] and she still wore it down to her shoulders, as her mother had done. (There is an intensely sad scene when Grant visits Fiona after she has been at the nursing home for sometime and her condition is spiralling downward. He notices that she is wearing loud garish clothes that are not hers and that "they had cut away her angelic halo." He says to her, "'Why did they chop off your hair?' Fiona put her hands up to her head, to check. 'Why--I never missed it,' she said." Or Ms. Munro describes Fiona's new friend Aubrey's skin as "leathery but pale, yellowish-white like an old wrinkled-up kid glove."
It is easy to see friends and loved ones in how these characters deal with the awfulness of Alzheimer's. The way Fiona attempts to recover when she has forgotten something went straight to my heart. My own mother would say to me when she could not remember something (I might name the names of all her grandchildren, for instance), "your memory is so much better than mine." And when Fiona manages to remember something, Grant has hope against hope that she will not get worse and/or she will never have to go to the second floor of the nursing home where patients with advanced dementia are housed. Finally, Marian, like many people in her situation, doesn't even have the luxury of leaving her husband in the home permanently because she would lose their home to cover the exorbitant bill.
Read the short story; see the movie.
Grant is a retired professor who, while he loves his wife, Fiona, has spent his life balancing marriage with love affairs. Fiona is 70 and begins to exhibit memory loss. As she slowly recedes into the fog of Alzheimer's, the past and present are thrust upon Grant with unrelenting confusion, guilt and sadness.
When Grant is finally forced to place Fiona in the Meadowlake facility he is not prepared, after a mandatory thirty-day separation to help her settle in, to find that his wife is truly gone to him. Somehow he thought he'd have time--days, weeks, perhaps months, before she left him for good. But when he arrives at Meadowlake, Fiona has embraced life there and has made new friends. The most important friend is Aubrey. And when Aubrey leaves the facility, Fiona's health rapidly deteriorates. If Grant is to save his wife from the `second' floor of Meadowlake, he will have to be selfless and do what he thinks is best for Fiona. But will it matter?
Munro's prose is sparse, concise and straightforward. But the simple and beautiful words reach out to you and grab your attention and demand to be felt. It's not just a story about Alzheimer's disease; it's a deep and rich love story. And the combination of the Alzheimer's and love will leave you breathless. This is a volume I will keep and read again and again, savoring each word and most likely receiving different messages with each read.
Armchair Interviews says: A must read for everyone who has been touched by the insidiousness of Alzheimer's and for those who haven't.
ALICE MUNRO IS THE BEST WRITER OF ENGLISH ALIVE TODAY!
There, I've said it. IMHO :-)