The Love of a Good Woman is a collection of short stories by Alice Munro. I do not often read short stories, but I read a review of another collection by Munro and decided to try her writing. I enjoyed the stories and Munro is an excellent, evocative writer, but I still have mixed feelings about short stories overall. Munro’s do not necessarily have a beginning-middle-end clear plot outline the way a novel typically does. Even though they are longer than just a few pages, they are more like vignettes, snapshots into someone’s life, giving a sense of atmosphere, setting, and character. I found this slightly discomforting, to just step in to the character’s lives and then out of it. Intimate and touching, Munro’s stories do not put rose-colored paper over life. They show people thinking and acting and feeling as people really do, not in an idealized manner. In truth, these stories were unlike anything I have ever read before. They opened my mind to a different kind of writing and different experiences of life. I recommend them, and I intend to read more of Alice Munro’s work in the future. I’ll leave you with a couple quotes:
It was all right, everybody was in the right place. Karin felt as if she might be the one who had brought this about, through some exhausting effort. She knew she should feel satisfaction. She did feel satisfaction. But it all seemed unimportant in some way. As if Ann and Derek and perhaps eve Rosemary were behind a hedge that was too thick and troublesome to climb through.
There are people who carry decency and optimism around with them, who seem to cleanse every atmosphere they settle in, and you can’t tell such people things, it is too disruptive. Ian struck Eve as being one of those people, in spite of his present graciousness, and Sophie as being someone who thanked her lucky stars that she had found him.