The View From Castle Rock Hardcover – Sep 19 2006
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The latest from the accomplished and much lauded Alice Munro is a family and personal memoir presented as short stories. Munro begins in rural Scotland searching out her family roots and then moves ever closer to the present time. She covers the lives of her ancestors in Scotland (much of which must have been fictionalized), the journey by sea to Canada, the lives of her grandparents, her parents, and ultimately her own life and her searches into the past. Munro's strength as a writer is her ability to provide insight into the psychological motivations of her characters (and relations, in this case). The long title story, about the sea crossing of her ancestors, is a marvel of concision with fascinating characters conjured from the past: Walter, the young writer; Andrew, the easily embarrassed young husband; Agnes, who bears a child at sea; young Mary with a baby on her hip; and old James, the crotchety, story-telling patriarch. The book opens and closes with visits to country cemeteries, in Scotland and Canada, the former on a dismal rainy day in a rural landscape that feels lonely and depopulated. These are exceedingly quiet stories, as befits their setting in rural locales--farms and farm towns--whose lack of prosperity slows the pace of change. --Mark Frutkin
“Her full range of gifts is on display: indelible characters, deep insights about human behaviour and relationships, vibrant prose, and seductive, suspenseful storytelling.”
– Publishers Weekly
“The View From Castle Rock is meticulously crafted; elegant, stylish, a superb reading not only of life's vicissitudes but of the human need to connect past to present, to make sense of chaos and to find consolation in what can be salvaged from sorrow.”
– London Free Press
“Munro has, as usual, written a lovely book and is serenely well-honed in her craft.”
– Globe and Mail
“In The View from Castle Rock her full range of gifts is on display: indelible characters, deep insights about human behaviour and relationships, vibrant prose, and seductive, suspenseful storytelling. . . . Getting this close to the core of the girl who would become the master is a privilege and a pleasure not to be missed. And reliably as ever when the subject is human experience, Munro’s stories – whatever the proportions of fiction and fact – always bring us the truth.
— Sigrid Nunez, Publishers Weekly
“I found myself transported, enthralled, oblivious to time.”
— Pat Donnelly, Montreal Gazette
Praise for Runaway:
“Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America. . . . Read Munro! Read Munro!”
— Jonathan Franzen, New York Times Book Review
“When reading her work it is difficult to remember why the novel was ever invented.”
— The Times (U.K.)