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4.6 out of 5 stars
4.6 out of 5 stars
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on March 24, 2005
You either love story collections or you hate them. So it goes with the writing of author Alice Munro. She has found her niche and sticks to it. She has themes and topics that are present in most of her books. You either like it or you don't. I happen to think her writing is fantastic just the way it is. I would be distraught if I opened a Munro book and found her trying to be someone she is not. I know what I can count on her to produce, and that's why I love her story collections. She is a highly dependable and entertaining writer. RUNAWAY is written in the same style as Munro's previous efforts and will be a welcome delight to those already familiar with such titles as HATESHIP, FRIENDSHIP, COURTSHIP, LOVESHIP, MARRIAGE and THE LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN. There will also be strong appeal to those familiar with A COMPLICATED KINDNESS by Miriam Toews, THE CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson Tippet McCrae, and MY FRACTURED LIFE by Rikki Lee Travotla.
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on September 14, 2005
"Chance" is the first of a trilogy for the character Juliet, who takes a chance on the surviving chap (Eric) that she has met previously on the train. Look at the ironic shades of contradictory feeling that Munro quickly achieves upon their reunion: "He advances on her and she feels herself ransacked from top to bottom, flooded with relief, assaulted by happiness. How astonishing this is. How close to dismay." The only other collection of short stories that comes close to this (and it actually surpasses Runaway, is the collection by Jackson T. McCrae titled The Children's Corner, which is a rich and complex yet very satisfying foray into so many dimensions that it's impossible to go into all of them here. But the Munro is really great also and should be read. In the second story of the trilogy, where Juliet gains a daughter and misplaces Eric, Munro fleetingly appears to be channeling Flannery O'Connor, a writer she resembles not all that much. I mean, they both make effective fictional use of the halt and the lame, but Munro is untroubled by O'Connor's abiding obsession with the Holy Trinity.
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on December 9, 2004
When recommending a book to someone, I try to keep in mind what they're interested in. The joy of Munro's books is that you don't have to do this-they're really about any and everything and the writing is so accessible and intelligent that anyone can pick these up and like them. If you enjoyed Jackson McCrae's THE CHILDREN'S CORNER or David Egger's HOW WE ARE HUNGRY, then you'll love Munro's latest collection. Of all the stories in this staggering little bunch, "Powers" was, for me, the most riveting. Dealing with a young woman who has the ability to read the future, her escapades start the ball rolling (not always in a good direction) for family and friends. Munro is a Canadian, and one might suspect she would be somewhat limited in her material. Not so. These stories are filled with insight that cuts across geography and time. If you enjoy good writing that takes its time to work its charm on you, then I strongly suggest you try RUNAWAY. If you haven't read the Eggers or the McCrae yet, those are musts. With the short story form coming back into vogue, these are all winners.
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on December 19, 2004
I borrowed "Runaway" from the library. Now that I have read it, I have no choice but to go out and buy it. One read will never suffice.
On the surface the stories seem straight forward, perhaps more so than Munro's other recent books and yet they are rich and complex.
These are stories of great humanity. Outcomes are not predictable and the smallest of decisions can change a life forever. A word not said, a second glance not taken, have huge consequences. The characters and plots do not follow a predictable course as they would in a lesser fiction.
Even the less sympathetic characters are drawn in shades of grey and we feel their pain and humanity. In the title story, a bully of a husband is a complex man who may or may not destroy, depending upon so little. We hold our breath in dread, hoping that those around him tread lightly.
This collection of stories is simply breathtaking and deserves to be savoured again and again.

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on November 16, 2004
I'm somewhat ashamed to admit that I'm not familiar with this author, or at least wasn't until I read RUNAWAY: STORIES. But what a fan I've become overnight! This incredible look at the human condition and relationships is one of the most moving and enlightening reads I've come across in a while. In a way, I was reminded of Salinger's NINE SHORT STORIES with their insightful peering into the human heart. Some of these little stories are connnected, and, in fact, some of the stories are not so small. Munro's narratives can sometimes take many pages, but there's a reason for each and every word. I also very much enjoyed the collection of short stories by author Jackson McCrae, titled THE CHILDREN'S CORNER. These too are brilliant and each one is expertly crafted and suited to the subject material the author is writing about.
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on June 30, 2005
Munro's unique portrayal of everyday aspects of life is rare around and the richness of it will make you want to read all of her other books. Most of the stories tell us how the characters that are easy to relate to are changed by events for forever The fact that this book is a series of well written stories that delve into the thoughts and dreams of the characters, thoughts and dreams that we all share, makes RUNAWAY and the other stories a recommended read. It is a superbly written work that takes its time to work its charm on you. With the same great writing that you'll find in books such as "The Bark of the Dogwood" and the same intricate character detailing as you'll see in works such as Kidd's "Secret life of Bees," this collection will surely not disappoint you.
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on November 26, 2004
This is the newest collection of stories by Canadian writer Alice Munro. The RUNAWAY stories are miraculous, encapsulating ideas and themes from anything and everything. But they're not mundane. Rather, they're fraught with lessons in life that will make the hair stand up on the back of your neck. Some of them start out innocently enough, but just wait, for in Munro's capable hands these seemingly simple tales become much more. One story, "Soon" and two others, are connected, and indeed connections run throughout this stellar group of tales.
Also must very highly recommend another collection of short stories: THE CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae. Equally brilliant, funny, disturbing, and lush.
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on April 9, 2005
I have always professed a distaste for books of short stories. I love a novel that can swallow me up and keep me interested for days on end. I requested this book for Christmas, unaware that it was actually a book of short stories. Upon reading it, I have changed my mind about short story reading. Each story offers a unique and interesting snapshot into some character's life, and Munro executes these snapshots with professionalism and talent. After reading this book, I went on to read Jhumpa Lahiri's Pulitzer Prize-winning Interpreter of Maladies, and I can now appreciate the power of authors who can create SEVERAL interesting and powerful stories within the confines of one book. Recommended.
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on November 15, 2004
These stories are subtle and lush and refract immense light. There is no relationship, especially any regarding women, that is not examined with great care and great insight. Alice Munro is one of the best at capturing women and the ties that bind us together, and sometimes these ties are subtle, and I love how artfully she manages this over the course of this collection. Make sure that you read the stories in order so you can absorb the connections back to previous people and events. "Runaway" may very well be as strong as "Friend of My Youth." This and Jennifer Paddock's brilliant novel-in-stories "A Secret Word" are easily the best books I've read this year. Easily.
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on March 11, 2005
There is a wonderful strength and survivorship in the girls and women of RUNAWAY. I was reminded of the similar themes and woman's point of view from the ubiquitous and fantastic CHILDREN'S CORNER by Jackson McCrae, even though that author is a guy. You'd think that Munro and McCrae are related in the way they handle the sensitivity of situations and people. But Munro's work is really without comparison, for she manages to connect several of the stories and the result is a tour-de-force of emotion and intellect. The reader is captured by the style and what happens in the stories is not as important as how those happenings are revealed. A great writer and a great book. Don't miss it!
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