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

Posted by nerhael on 2004-02-25 19:59:12
First off, a bit about the author. Alice Munro grew up in Swingin' Wingham. I was completely unaware of that. She now lives between two homes, one in Clinton Ontario, and Comox British Columbia.

She's considered by the New York Times to be about "the only living writer in the English language to have made a career out of short fiction alone." Could be true. I don't know any of her other works really, and of other English writers I can think of, none seem to really specialize solely in short stories/novellas.

Anyhow, on the the matter at hand, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is a collection of nine new stories. I believe that all but the last, The Bear Came Over the Mountain are told from a feminin POV. None of the stories really have anything I'd call a plot persay. They are snapshots of the character's lives mostly, some at earlier points on that path, others later.

All the stories were pretty good, they mostly deal with the very things the title of the collection suggests. But two stories struck me in ways the others most definitely did not.

Post and Beam is the story of a younger woman, mid 20's, who's married with two children. The story focuses on her family, an old student of her husbands who visits frequently, and a cousin from her childhood. ... I'll be honest, beyond that, it's hard to say much else about the story. It's about seeing something, and not realizing you want it. Also, it's about just accepting that, and accepting everything, but thinking it's not complacency, that you've somehow bargained for it. When people talk about books that changed the way they saw things...well, I think this could have that affect on me. It was somewhat illumininating.

The Bear Came Over the Mountain is the story of a couple in their later years. Grant is left to watch his wife slowly lose her memories, of simple things, like which drawers have what, to the way home from town, eventually including him. I think this story really made me realize how important shared memories are to me. I truly believe memories are meant to be shared, or they're lost. I believe most of my childhood was lost in this fashion. Memory is precious, and I think this story helped me realize just how precious.

That was the last story in the collection, and I really felt that ended it on a strong note, leaving me with a good feeling about the whole collection, so I feel I can safely recommend it to others.