Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

Reviewed by Marianne from "Let's Read"

A collection of short stories. Not really my type of thing, I like long novels, I like to get to know the characters, be part of their lives, not just a visitor for an hour or so.

Alice Munro has a good writing style and I would have loved to read all nine of these stories as a book, wouldn't have minded reading 500+ pages on every single one of them. Alas, it was not to be, short stories she set out to write and short stories she wrote. Granted, good ones, and if you enjoy short stories, you should read these.

Now I have to ask myself this question: Should I be proud that I know the new recipient and have read something by her or should I be sad that I didn't find a new great author this way as I usually do? I think I am a little of both.

The titles of the short stories in this collection are:

  • "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage"
  • "Floating Bridge"
  • "Family Furnishings"
  • "Comfort"
  • "Nettles"
  • "Post and Beam"
  • "What is Remembered"
  • "Queenie"
  • "The Bear Came Over the Mountain"

From the back cover: "In these stories lives come into focus through single events or sudden memories which bring the past bubbling to the surface. The past, as Alice Munro's characters discover, is made up not only of what is remembered, but also what isn't. The past is there, just out of the picture, but if memories haven't been savoured, recalled in the mind and boxed away, it's as if they have never been - until a moment when the pieces of the jigsaw re-form suddenly, sometimes pleasurably but more often painfully. Women look back at their young selves, at first marriages made when they were naive and trusting, at husbands and their difficult, demanding little ways.

There is in this new collection an underlying heartbreak, a sense of regret in her characters for what might have been, for a fork in the road not taken, a memory suppressed in an act of prudent emotional housekeeping. But at the same time there is hope, there are second chances - here are people who reinvent themselves, seize life by the throat, who have moved on and can dare to conjure up the hidden memories, daring to go beyond what is remembered."

Alice Munro received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013 for being the "master of the contemporary short story".

Read my other reviews of the Nobel Prize winners for Literature

2 comments

Brona Joy said...

I love a good short story and I love Alice Munro.

You've pipped me at the post - I wanted to write the first Munro/Nobel piece here :-)

This is the first time I've known and loved a Nobel recipient before the announcement - it's a little weird. No new author to anticipate, but a lovely sense of "I told you so!" instead.

Marianne said...

Thank you Brona Joy, for your comment. Sorry I beat you but that doesn't mean you can't add your version, we have a lot of "double entries".

Also sorry it took me so long to answer, you probably know that we don't get notifications for this account, so I check in from time to time.

Not the first time for me to have read a Nobel Prize winner before the award, I know it was definitely the case with Mario Vargas Llosa, Doris Lessing, Günter Grass and probably a few more.

I have just visited your page, looks very interesting, you seem to read similar literature to mine, will definitely "follow" you.

I also love challenges and did a few this year, the "Around the World" challenge sounds especially interesting, I will try to read at least one from each continent.

Marianne from Let's Read




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