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The Love of a Good Woman Hardcover – Sep 26 1998


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: McClelland & Stewart; First Edition edition (Sept. 26 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771066856
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771066856
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 15.2 x 3.3 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 635 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #298,395 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)


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4.2 out of 5 stars
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Most helpful customer reviews

Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I have not finished reading the book, but I was disappointed by the story which bears the title of the book. I had expected something very different. Sorry, I cannot recommend it to friends.
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Format: Hardcover
The theme of this short story collection is the various paths that love escorts individuals down. Some of the stories are filled with passion; other nostalgia. The characters vary as the stories vary. Love can be man and woman, mother and daughter, siblings, etc. The stories do not always end happily ever after as the characters dive deeper into morass due to one exposure after another of some dark secrets.
Alice Munro has a deserved reputation for some of the best literary works of the nineties. Her current anthology, THE LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN, overall is a well-written collection, but does not seem to reach the level of excellence set by the author in her previous works. Though several of the eight stories are excellent, some of the tales seem to need constant shock therapy to keep the heart pumping as Ms. Munro reveals one new disjointed surprise after another to keep the story line moving, but only jolts the reader's flow. Overall, this is a fabulous book, but readers need to be aware that it is not on the Munro level of quality.

Harriet Klausner
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Manuel Haas on June 10 2001
Format: Hardcover
We all know that there are quite a lot of people who believe that Alice Munro is one of the greatest short story writers alive, and I could not agree with them more. But let me say what I particularly like about Alice Munro, what distinguishes her from other great writers.
First of all, there is a unique impression of authenticity. There are certain conventions in fiction about what is regarded as important or interesting; Alice Munro ignores them. She knows that tiny incidents can be the defining ones. She knows that spending a weekend with one's own daughter can be an unbearable challange which almost drives you mad. These stories do not gloss over the mundane aspects of life we have to struggle with most.
Second, Alice Munro's stories believe in human dignity and choice. Hers is a moral universe. It's not just the title story which shows us a person making a choice. We tend to just let things happen to us and pretend we cannot do anything about them; these stories show that sometimes we can (but they do not deny that very often we cannot). There is also a great story, "Jakarta", which implies that such choices are not valid forever; it's not enough to decide against betraying your husband today. The decision may feel momentous, but if you decide otherwise tomorrow it doesn't matter all that much. The problem is, however, and the story shows that too, that when you take those decisions you are very often incapable of feeling their impact.
Read these stories! This is a book for grown-ups. It will help you understand the world.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Christa Hill on July 11 2000
Format: Hardcover
After the first fairly gripping story, the fiction quickly falls into some Alice Mundane prose and it seems like it's going to be that way for the long haul. The author seems to have forgotten the necessity of plot in several stories, and the reader is left dragging along to the end only because of confidence in an otherwise accomplished writer. "Cortes Island" has some worthwhile character development, but "Jakarta" and "Save the Reaper" feel like directionless wandering, as if Munro is playing the grandson's alien chase game with her story development: see a possibility, grab onto it there for a while and see where it goes and then grab onto another. While this technique can certainly be successful and give the image of "living" or "evolution" fiction, it doesn't always work, and these three stories prove it.
Furthermore, the "shocking" action of her characters is not believable enough because, despite all the drawn-out development, the reader still can't see the justification in the character's minds. Sure, everyone does the unexpected sometimes, but if all Munro's characters do that, we lose the idea of the story. Pauline, for example, in "The Children Stay," seems to feel too much devotion and affection for her children to be able to just forget them completely for a wild night of sex that leaves her sore, even though they interrupt her life. Most women find that children interfere with the professional, artistic, social (etc) lives they had before becoming mothers, so what sets Pauline apart to actually be able to leave the girls forever for a romance that turns out to be a fling anyway? Munro didn't prepare us enough for her decision, and the story is weakened.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 31 1999
Format: Hardcover
First, let me say that I'm a huge fan of Munro. Let me say that "Open Secrets" is THE book (okay, one of the books) I recommend to people for books that I love. And most of her early stuff ain't bad either. Let me say that as a way to lighten my negative opinion about this book. I think this book can be summed up by one of the characters in the first story (I'm paraphrasing) who's thinking about how as she got older she realized that life took more than she had and left her with less. (Something to that effect.) These stories read as if this were Munro's problem too, as if she's given her best and now she's still got to give more and she's out of gas. The stories seem tired. Case in point: she replaces the brilliant connections and observations she used to make in a paragraph with ten-fifteen pages of incidentals. So much seems like padding. Anyone has a hard time topping themselves as they get older, granted. And I think it would be hard for any mortal to write a book like "Open Secrets" in the first place, and I think it's doubly tough to try and top that. Frankly, I think she didn't top it this time or get very close. And I don't know if she's trying so hard. Since "Open Secrets" she's had a "Best of", this collection and the National Book Award. After reading these stories I think the award was given for the body of work she's created and not for the book itself. "The Love of.." feels like a book written to capitalize on someone's reputation and not to capitalize on what lies ahead. And who knows? Maybe she has another "Open Secrets" in her to share. I hope so.
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