Open Secrets by Alice Munro

Damn you Alice Munro. Your stories are the work of a misery guts. And I stick to my feeling that these are not short stories. They are shrivelled up novels, like you can’t be bothered with filling in the details. An impressionistic dab here, a by-your-leave reference there and chunks of life are presumed to have substance. Not enough words for how much are in them. Never mind the movie, most of these stories could fill a mini-series or a BBC serial, the ones they used to do that never seemed to end.

I don’t like it. I don’t like it at all. Your stories make me cross. The flatness of them makes me cross. The hopeless women’s hopeless lives makes me cross. The cover says it is about unconventional women who refuse to be contained. Really? I feel like I must have read the book backwards or upside down. I feel the opposite, that it is about conventional women leading conventionally miserable lives, tied to the yoke of the lot that is supposed to be theirs. The lot that is conventionally theirs, as much in this book as may be in life.

Yet the fact is, I am going to keep on reading your stories, and that is why I damn you, Alice Munro.

4 thoughts on “Open Secrets by Alice Munro

  1. I’ve just finished her latest – ‘Dear Life’ – and her last, so she says. I hope not. Yes, there’s misery here, but above all accuracy, sharpness, beauty too. In fact that’s going on my GR review now.

  2. I can understand why men might get more out of these. It could be a lesson for them, but I don’t need a lesson in ways women live miserably. Maybe it’s vicarious for men.

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