Together in Spirit

An online reading group ('TIS a reading group!) to bring together friends, and friends of friends, who aren't able to be in a conventional reading group due to constraints of time or geography.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Alice Munro

I'm really sorry about recommending this. I think I chose a bad set of stories, since my sister says that the collection she'd read and recommended is beautifully observed, but not tricksy like this one. I found it really unsettling and had no idea a/ what was going on and b/ whether I was supposed to know what was going on. Has anyone else read it? Enjoyed it? Understood it? Almost each story appeared to have a mystery in it which I just couldn't figure out or dismiss as a mystery. This is probably a theme, I know, but it irked me and made me feel stupid. The web was no use in telling me which volume to start with, alas. I had chosen this one since it looked like the stories might be interlinked and thus more like a novel (which I prefer) but it only added to my confusion: I kept thinking that characters were relatives of ones we'd come across in other stories. But I was never sure, or sure whether I was supposed to be sure. Maddening. But Munro did at least capture what she's doing: "her memory will twitch, but it will not quite reveal to her this moment when she seems to be looking into an open secret, something not startling until you think of trying to tell it."

Fundamentally, I realise, I dislike short stories. Does anyone like them? I'll feel much better if someone has enjoyed these, but don't read them if you don't like the genre since I'm sure it won't convert you.