Most helpful critical review
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A Shocking Disappointment
on December 9, 2004
Working in a bookstore, and being an avid reader of Canadian fiction, I've always wanted to read Alice Munro's short-story collections because of her international reputation as one of Canada's literary treasures. After "Runaway" won the Giller, I put down everything I was reading at the time and decided to finally acquaint myself with Munro's writing once and for all. The first story, the title story, I rather enjoyed. But then it was all downhill after that. After the fifth story I just gave up. I couldn't go on. The stories were well written, there's no question, but I'm afraid there wasn't much "story" in this short story collection at all. And the titles, all single words (Chance, Passion, Silence...), in a way mocking pretentious titles of bad fiction, when in fact the mockery doesn't seem intended at all. If it is, it's not reflected in the pieces. And I wanted so badly to like this collection. I just don't see what all the fuss is about. I will definitely give Munro another chance sometime in the future, because her accolades practically command it. But at the moment, I must admit, I'm both perplexed and dismayed at my response to this latest offering from an obviously very talented writer. Oh well.