People whose opinion I respect have told me for years to read Alice Munro’s stories and I finally bought a collection called ‘Runaway’ recently. I’ve been reading it over the break.
Two things that strike me:
1) The sense I get, in the realist Canadian fiction I have read, of people running around in a landscape that’s too big for them. If this is what it’s like, maybe they should let more people in?
2) Normally people try to pass off short stories as novels. To me this book seems the opposite: a book that is really a novel and has been sold as short stories. I wonder if Munro’s other books are like this also.
As I keep reading, though, it seems I was in the middle of a ‘three-in-a-row’. The second third and fourth story, I think, were linked ones about the same character at different times, and could perhaps also have been published as a novella. Clearly Munro chose not to present them this way. After that, they revert to separate stories, as far as I can tell.
(Have not yet finished, but the book does seem worth finishing.)