lunes, 3 de agosto de 2015

Too Much Happiness - Alice Munro

Judging by Too Much Happiness, Alice Munro is indeed a master of the short story craft. In this collection, there are nine shorter short stories and a longer one, almost a novella. Astoundingly, I feel as if I had read ten novels. She has an uncanny ability to plunge the reader into the world of her stories with a swift turn of phrase by which landscapes and lives and years are condensed in one sentence. To illustrate what I mean by this, see the start of Some Women:
I am amazed sometimes to think how old I am. I can remember when the streets of the town I lived in were sprinkled with water to lay the dust in summer, and when girls wore waist cinches and crinolines that could stand up by themselves, and where there was nothing much to be done about things like polio and leukemia.
In a couple of sentences, Munro paints a clear image of the setting. And then she masterfully ends the story with this flawless sentence:
I grew up, and old. 
Apparently simple, yet I had never read something so beautifully crafted. And her prose is as deceiving as her subject matter. She writes mainly about women in a closed environment. At first sight, the stories seem domestic, provincial. She has been dismissed for being a women's writer, and for being a regionalist. But, actually, that makes no sense. Her women, who seem variations of the same woman at different times, with different ages and placed in different circumstances, are essential. She might use a smaller scope than most, but she achieves universality even with more ease. These stories are packed with hard truths and feeling, and they require some time to settle and unlock their whole meaning. They are stories full of tragedy, and vitality. Some also have humor. Some have fairy-tale magic in them. 

Above all, they are stories to reread and ponder.

2 comentarios:

  1. Great review, you captured what makes Alice Munro such an amazing storyteller. I haven't read this particular collection of stories, but I've read some of her other titles and they are just amazing; she manages to tell so much and capture so much in such a short amount of pages.

    1. Thank you! I will be checking the rest of Alice Munro stories.