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Runaway Paperback – Oct 4 2005
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“Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America.… Read Munro! Read Munro!”
–Jonathan Franzen in The New York Times Book Review
“Wise, compelling and quite simply brilliant, Runaway is a gift to all of us …”
–Jane Urquhart in the National Post
“Like all of Munro’s previous, award-winning short story collections – which prompted The Atlantic Monthly to call her ‘the living writer most likely to be read in 100 years’ – Runaway is filled with memorable, if increasingly eccentric, characters whose lives unfold in astonishing ways.… Munro is not one bit bleak; she is steadfast, lucid, occasionally funny and thrillingly honest.… In Alice Munro’s hands, the smallest moments contain the central truths of a lifetime, in which disaster, honesty and hope are teased out as if indeed there was not a minute to lose.”
–Maclean’s, October 4, 2004
“Quintessential Munro at top form… with each successive collection Munro has demonstrated her mastery over the short story form, of which she is arguably the foremost practitioner in Canada and perhaps the world.
Meticulously constructed, seemingly effortless, these eight stories have an instantly recognizable Munro-like quality of plainness.”
–Maureen Garvie, Quill and Quire
“Runaway shows Munro’s own powers of verbal precision are undiminished. Her trademark techniques – the ability to sum up physical objects (the ‘damp and battered-looking little house’ on the forested coast of British Columbia), the creation of note-perfect dialogue – remain as sharp as ever. So consistent and seemingly effortless are her touches that one can’t even guess whether they now represent well-honed instinct or still the result of intense labour on her part to get the words right. It doesn’t matter.… Munro knows that it is not enough to create nuanced and utterly real characters. To engage the heart of the reader, it is also necessary to show these characters in desperate circumstances.”
–Philip Marchand, Toronto Star (September 26, 2004)
“She is one of those few living writers who, in the way of the greats, must simply be read.… A complex feast.… Any of her stories is more resonant and satisfying than many a contemporary novel.… Cynthia Ozick has said of Munro, that she is our Chekhov,. But like the character Juliet, Munro does not always choose to show compassion. Like life itself, she remains neutral. So she is our Flaubert, too. We couldn’t ask for more.”
–Globe and Mail, September 25, 2004 (reviewed by Claire Messud)
“It is vintage Munro, its twists of plot and intriguing characters keeping the reader riveted.… The women in these stories are all unforgettable.… She is a consummate artist, and has taken the craft of the short story to new heights.… The small communities Munro portrays represent a microcosm of our world, for the narrow-mindedness, the generosity depicted in the stories are universal.”
–Winnipeg Free Press, September 26, 2004
“Forget about all of the awards and the accolades. You don’t have to read beyond Runaway, the title story of her 12th book, to gain a sense of why she is held in such esteem by critics and readers alike.… When people 100 years from now want to know the interior experience of women at the turn of the 21st century – emotionally, intellectually, psychologically and spiritually – they will find no more honest and truthful account than in the stories of Alice Munro.”
–The Record (Kitchener), September 25, 2004
About the Author
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published sixteen 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; Selected Stories; The Love of a Good Woman; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; Runaway; The View from Castle Rock; Alice Munro’s Best, Too Much Happiness, and Dear Life. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the recent Nobel Prize in Literature which cited her as “a master of the contemporary short story.”
Here at home she has won too many awards to list, including three Governor General’s Literary Awards, two Giller Prizes, several Trillium Prizes and a number of Libris Awards. Elsewhere she has won the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England’s W. H. Smith Book Award, Italy’s Pescara prize, the United States’ National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Edward MacDowell Medal in literature. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Saturday Night, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages.
Alice Munro divides her time between Clinton, Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
She is a Nobel Prize winning author and this book is proof positive as to why. Her writing is subtle and easy to grasp and yet it still conveys a wide range of emotions and will often strike you when least expected.
This has to be one of my favorite books of all time
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
The title story itself is one of the best long short stories that I can remember. (But I would still like to know what happened to Flora...)
The story called 'Silence' is a very troubling horror story out of real life.
Munro writes about daily life and 'human' relations and neighborhood problems and life stories, including several versions of plausible horror, with a simplicity and precision that can only be achieved through hard work (or through lucky genius). She is entirely free of mannerisms and of cheap tricks (unlike some contemporary American writers that I am just having a big disagreement about.)
Take "Chance," "Soon" and "Silence," a trio of stories about Juliet, a young woman whose choices about who to speak to on a train change her life forever. Munro masterfully picks three incidents, the train ride, a visit home, and a search for a daughter, and through them tells the story of Juliet's life. I found it sad to see how the great passion of the first story ends in an accident by the third. Or "Tricks," perhaps the most painful story in the collection. The story opens with Robin saying the most banal thing one could imagine, "I'll die if that dress isn't ready." Then we learn why, and when Munro repeats the line again we see it's fraught with meaning. We learn of a chance meeting that offers a promise that's snatched away a year later; only at the end of her life does Robin learn what really happened.
Suicides, lost souls and disappointments thread through these stories. Munro's world is a lost and lonely place, and be forewarned--none of these stories promises a happy ending. But they're beautifully written and struck a chord--don't we all recall brief, seemingly trivial moments years later and wonder what if?
Runaway seems to be a meditation on several themes. The obvious one is the idea of flight. Her characters flee in a multitude of ways-- successfully, unsuccessfully, with large rebellion and small. Small town life with all its constraints and beauty is explored through the context of young women trying to come to terms with its limitations.
This book would be suitable for anyone who is a lover of strong character-driven fiction (short or otherwise). If you read and appreciate writers like Marilynne Robinson, then this will likely be a book for you. It will be high on my list of books to be given as a gift this year.