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Libro destacado de The New York Times
 
Uno de los mejores libros del año
The Atlantic MonthlyThe Boston GlobeLos Angeles TimesSan Francisco ChronicleChicago TribuneKansas City StarThe EconomistSlate

 
Diez magníficos relatos por una de las autoras más queridas y galardonadas – ganadora del premio Nobel de Literatura­ y el Man Booker International Prize.
 
Anécdotas en apariencia banales se transforman en las manos de Munro en pura emoción, y su estilo muestra estas emociones sin dificultad, gracias a un talento excepcional que arrastra al lector dentro de las historias casi sin preámbulos.
 
Una joven madre recibe consuelo inesperado por la muerte de sus tres hijos, otra mujer reacciona de forma insólita ante la humillación a la que la somete un hombre; otros cuentos describen la crueldad de los niños y los huecos de soledad que se crean en el día a día de la vida de pareja. Como broche de oro, en el último cuento acompañamos a una matemática rusa y viviremos con ella su historia de amor con un hombre que hizo lo que supo por decepcionarla.
Published: Random House Publishing Group on
ISBN: 9780804172998
List price: $11.99
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The title story is about a real woman, a 17th century Russian novelist and mathematician named Sofia Kovalevskaya. In a series of short snapshots, it traces her struggle against men who couldn’t recognize her brilliance, or who were threatened by it. She reached for the things she wanted – work, love – but, as an extraordinary woman, she wasn’t allowed the satisfactions of an ordinary one.

Most of these subtle, well-written stories are about the relationships between men and women. The women are sometimes too passive, sometimes too forgiving, but they are survivors. They carve out lives for themselves in spite of both the small injustices and the larger outrages. Some of the stories are about family relationships, about people who spiral out from the center and don’t come back.
more
Brilliant collection of stories, beautifully written, many about women in the aftermath of a tragedy. This is serious fiction. My only real criticism is there isn't too much terribly surprising. Most of the stories have a similar structure: a first half describing a character's life and a second half where the face some climatic moment, usually divided by the revelation of a terrible event. Still, I found it very affecting.more
Alice Munro is a master of the short story, and this volume is no exception. Despite the title, most of these stories are about too little happiness, or really, too much tragedy. But she never takes the obvious approach to her devastating little plot lines, and it is this feature (along with her humor - she has one character express disappointment that a book she'd bought was a story collection instead of a novel, because it makes the writer seem like she is merely hanging on the gates of literature instead of being ensconced within) that distinguishes her. Though her prose is rarely flourished, she does allow herself a few truly beautiful moments, and those alone are worth the price of this latest collection.more
This is a collection of short stories with most of stories having women protagonists. There is no central theme or a connection between the stories. The best stories are "Dimensions", "Fiction" and "Too much happiness".The language and presentation of the stories is brilliant. It's a must read book.more
Slow and boring, this anthology is the same story of small-town longing and hope amongst heartache told over and over with amateurish verve. Stories by a late-middle-aged woman for other late-middle-aged women, delivered with the skilled panache of a community college workshop.more
Alice Munro has a propensity for diving into the seedy underbelly of the human condition with her writing; exploring our addictions to love, to abuse, to our own insecurities and to other various parts of life that seem unimportant to those around us. This was my first foray into reading collections of short stories and with only one story in the collection that I genuinely disliked I was not disappointed. I plan on checking out more of her work in the future.more
I've always admired the author's ability to play with nonlinear timelines, reveal characters in a simple gesture, capture those moments in life that have the power to change destiny. The title story is a dip into historical fiction. It contains this great line: "She was learning, quite late, what many people around her appeared to have known since childhood - that life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements." (p. 283)more
I've always loved Alice Munro's stories and this collection was no exception. She is a masterful writer who draws you into the characters' lives, then presents a shift of perspective or a single event (not necessarily a big event) that makes the reader suddenly rethink what has been happening. The main message in this collection seems to be that life has a way of going on no matter what. Sometimes, a major event brings you in a new direction; other times, it's just the passage of time that changes your perspectives about your life.Alice Munro is a master of the short story.more
I have to admit that I am struggling with short stories in general. Alice Monro´s, however, are more readable than most, but it is still difficult for me to get into a character, a situation, and then being asked to leave. Still, the short stories in Too Much Happiness are memorable, some of them make quite an impact, and I can see Munro is doing something to the short story tradition that I have never seen before: She manages to tell stories in the here and now, but during the course of the short story, this story is put into the perspective of a long life. In most of these short stories she is making huge time leaps - but it still feels very intimate. I am left with a feeling of the transparence of life, how we tend to see everything with blinders, not recognizing the perpective in which an important event in our lives have to our whole life. Monro writesabout both men and women, but it is our female characters she understands the best. I liked the fictional characters better than the real character in the title short story, but I can still see why Monro is fascinated with the character of Sophia Kovalevsky -also because her life demonstrates the leaps made since her death in women´s roles, lives and position.more
Beautifully written, finely crafted and emotionally engaging short stories - nine of which are about modern day Canada, but the last, title story, is about the last days of a Russian mathematician, with her story told in flash back. I particularly enjoyed "Wood".more
"It is not physical harm that is feared--or that I feared in Verna's case--so much as some spell, or dark intention. It is a feeling you can have when you are very young even about certain house faces, or tree trunks, or very much about moldy cellars or deep closets."With Munro, you're always in for a smooth, expert ride. I think this collection may have been better titled Evil Children or Bad Seeds, however. Munro isn't really a diehard cynic; she just acknowledges that we all have some nasty impulses inside--even, or especially, children, pretty young things and sweet old ladies.There seems to be an emphasis here on the very old (looking back, mulling over a youthful error) or the very young. Not her usual preoccupations with youthful lust, adulteries or marriage gone out of whack. Child's Play is a good example of the twin emphases: a woman named Marlene, perhaps of late middle-age, called (too late) to the deathbed of a childhood friend who she hasn't seen in decades. Which brings us back, eventually, to the two of them at camp when the narrator' s Marlene's nemesis, a disturbed or retarded girl called Verna, shows up. How Munro gets back to Verna's first appearance, how she grated on Marlene, sets up the era (1940s) and the familial circumstances ... it's classic Munro roundabout method but, you know, you don't even notice because your so absorbed in the sketching of the lives at the forefront.This collection is also notable for two stories that don't take place in Canada. "Dimensions," the opening story, could be present day, takes place in England. The evil seed in this case is the jealous, emotionally abusive husband married to a young girl; they have three very little children when ...Then there's the final story, :Too Much Happiness," about the last days of Sophia Kovlesky, a real, late 19th-century Russian mathematician. (Thanks goodness there's nonfiction book about her.) She was allowed by her family to study in Germany by getting married--a so-called White Marriage at first because her parents wouldn't have allowed her to go as an unmarried girl.. She also wrote a novel, had a daughter and led a frivolous life for a while in Russia, but with her husband's suicide and economic straits, she took up studying math again. Her fatherly German mentor secured a professorial position for her in Sweden--incredible at the time and then she won an important prize (which may be why there is a crater on the moon named after her.)In these last cold winter days, suffering from the first signs of pneumonia, she meets her Russian lover (an exiled Liberal, professor) in Genoa and Nice and they decide to marry; visits the husband of her dazzling dead sister in Paris, an impoverished veteran of the Commune, and then on to the home of her mentor in Berlin. Maybe it's the ferry boat journey on the way to Stockholm that was the final toll. You could write a book about it.more
Dimensions“Going to meet Lloyd... she had felt no guilt, only a sense of destiny, submission.”Fiction“It almost seemed as if there must be some random and of course unfair thrift in the emotional housekeeping of the world, if the great happiness -however temporary, however flimsy- of one person could come out of the great unhappiness of another.”Wenlock Edge“On their way to deeds they didn’t yet know they had in them.” last lineDeep-Holes“And it was possible, too, that age could be her ally, turning her into somebody she didn’t know yet.”Free Radicals“Now she knows what it is to really miss him. Like the air sucked out of the sky.”Face“You think that would have changed things?The answer is of course, and for a while, and never.”Some Women“I am amazed sometimes to think how old I am.” 1st line“I grew up, and old.” last lineChild’s Play“Every year, when you’re a child, you become a different person.”Wood“It’s a tall word that seems ominous but indifferent.”Too Much Happiness“She was too full of glowing and exceptional ideas to speak to people any longer.”more
Alice Munro is my favourite living short story writer, and this collection does not disappoint except, strangely for the long title story. Unlike the other contemporary pieces, this one is set in the nineteenth century and centres on the real-life Sophia Kovalevsky, a Russian mathematician and novelist. The story simply did not come to life for me, and it seems out of place among the rest of the collection, though Munro clearly wants to draw attention to it through the title. Other readers may be entirely captivated by the romantic complications Sophia faces; I am perfectly ready to accept that the fault is my own, but all criticism is subjective. The other stories are set in familiar Munro territory - in and around Ontario, focusing on small lives - but nothing is ever quite familiar with this writer, who has the unerring ability to unsettle us, often by examining the brittleness of relationships, sometimes by the placing of quirky incidents in seemingly ordinary circumstancess, as here in the story 'Wenlock Edge' where a student takes her friend's usual place as a solitary guest in a wealthy man's home and is invited, quite coolly and charmingly, to dine with him completely naked. Equally oddly, she complies, without knowing why, and nothing happens - the man continues conversational and correct throughout the meal. The perverse strangeness of it reminded me of Pip's visits to Miss Havisham in 'Great Expectations'.I believe Miss Munro has said this will be her last book. She is 75, but I do hope there's more to come from her yet. As readers of her work, we can't have too much happiness.more
I’m impressed with this woman’s ability to make the impossible and misunderstood decisions of her characters seem almost relatable. Details changed or not we all tend to make similar decisions in our lives that seem like madness to those on the outside. Alice Munro has a propensity for diving into the seedy underbelly of the human condition with her writing; exploring our addictions to love, to abuse, to our own insecurities and to other various parts of life that seem unimportant to those around us. This was my first foray into reading collections of short stories and with only one story in the collection that I genuinely disliked I was not disappointed. I plan on checking out more of her work in the future.more
Too much happiness : stories is a collection of nine new stories by Alice Munro. Good stories, with fair narration, (except for Kimberly Farr who is terrific as ever!) but a disappointment after the richness of her other works. I would recommend this collection only to those who are true Munro fans.more
Munro writes very well about difficult people, lives and emotions. Such depth in characters and story, but so dark or disturbing. I can't decide what I think. I kept reading because the stories were very interesting and well done, but now I'm ready for something abit lighter!more
Alice Munro is my new favorite female writer.more
I certainly without a doubt can appreciate the craft, that which is Alice Munro's writing, but felt uninterested in most of these stories. I enjoyed a few, but for me reading is entertainment, and I was bored. With that being said, I feel the power of Alice Munro's words, but that alone did not make this a great read for me. I hate that too, since everyone else loved it.more
I am normally a fan of Munro's work but this collection just didn't work for me. It felt too deliberate, as if the mechanics of the stories were more important than the stories themselves. I found the prose heavy and awkward in many places and the characters were similarly turbid.more
I enjoyed some of the stories, but not all of them. I think I prefer novels to short stories. Too much lacking in the short stories - I want to know what happened next. But that's not to say that they weren't all well written. Just for me, the genre isn't as satisfying.more
Someone else has written that Alice Munro's short stories are as complete as a novel - which was particularly the case in the collection's namesake. This is my first experience reading Alice Munro and I found her stories sinister, surprising, real, shocking, human - some I had to put down and regroup before I finished, others I had to read twice because I raced through the initial reading. I've discovered a wonderful writer, and I will seek more of her work.more
With apologies to Ms. Munro, an extremely capable writer, my subtitle for "Too Much Happiness" is "Too Much Tedium." I stopped reading half the entries midway through their boring narratives. One reviewer described this book as "dull and depressing." I don't mind depressing. I just don't have much patience for dull. Still, I must say "Faces" was an intriguing tale.more
Having heard Munro's name bandied about, I was anxious to read some of her work, and was not disappointed. I was intrigued by her style as much or more than I was with her stories themselves. Her portrayal of time is fascinating; I don't think that one of the stories in this collection was told in a linear fashion. Her main characters are also interesting, because in many of the stories, they end up being more subordinate than anything else. There is always something hidden, a gem to be discovered. I enjoyed this collection, and look forward to reading more.more
This is my introduction to Munro’s work and what a wonderful place to start. Yes, these ten stories are draped in loss and melancholy, but in Munro’s capable hands, they are also about hope and survival. These are well-developed characters and her prose is crisp and assured. Here is a description of a crabby old lady: “Certain suggestions, or notions, would make the muscles of her lean spotty face quiver, her eyes go sharp and black, and her mouth work as if there was a despicable taste in it. She could stop you in your tracks then, like a savage thorn bush.”Her writing is also inventive, daring and startling at times and wherever she takes me, I will follow. I feel this is just the beginning of a long enduring affair.more
I don’t read too many books of short stories, but this was a Christmas gift. So after finishing my last novel, I decided to pick this up instead of heading out to Barnes and Noble. The first story was intriguing; a young mother goes to visit her husband in an institution despite the terrible violence of his past. From there I continued with tales, mostly about women in Canada. My favorites were Fiction, about a woman who finds herself in a short story written by the daughter of her ex husband’s lover; and Child’s Play about a murder that happened during a child’s camping trip. I also enjoyed the intelligence of the women in Free Radicals. These are not typical short stories, at least not what I think of as the slice of life, the glimpse of a scene that is usually honed down to the barest of information. These are more like 30 page novels, often depicting the entire life of the character involved, and they are not without plot. Rather they are about murder, lost children, robbery, self mutilation, --more plot than many novels. The last story is different, a longer novella about Sophia Kovalevsky, the rather famous Russian Mathematician who become the first women professor in Sweden, a country that would at least recognize her genius. This story depicted her as she left her lover to go back to Sweden and during this train ride reflects back on her past life. All the stories were well written and thoughtful. The jacket cover nicely summarizes that Munro, “render complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.” That says it pretty well.more
Don’t be misled by the title of Alice Munro’s new collection of short stories, Too Much Happiness: These stories are anything but cheerful. In fact, they’re downright depressing, full of marital infidelities, drawn-out deaths, and traumatic childhoods. And yet, the stories are intensely lovely.Munro, who recently won the Booker Prize for this volume, has perfected the lyrical gut-wrencher. As in her previous collections of short stories, Munro places her characters in beautiful, rural Canadian settings before tearing their lives apart with shocking spasms of violence, both physical and emotional. It’s a formula that consistently forces the reader into a profound sympathy with her characters, but for all its emotional clout, the narrative blueprint becomes monotonous after 300-plus pages.Nine out of the 10 stories in Too Much Happiness are set in Canada’s recent past, with most taking place in Munro’s native Ontario. The descriptions of the Canadian landscape highlight Munro’s talent for spotting the crucial details that bring a story to life. The weeds in an abandoned garden, the composition of a rock formation, and the carved name of a long-shuttered bank are all closely observed, creating a strong sense of place and beauty.Inside this sepia-colored world, women from the whole spectrum of Canadian society give up their senses of self for the men in their lives. In the first story of the collection, a young woman struggles to forgive her husband for a violent act of madness. Another story focuses on a girl who goes to extremes to look like the severely birth-marked boy next door. Munro’s women all discover, in one way or another, that “the great happiness…of one person can come out of the great unhappiness of another.” The tragedy is that the women in these stories all fall in the latter half of that equation.Munro comes closest to doing something innovative in the book’s last story, which lends its name to the title of the whole collection. Taking place in the metropolises of 19th-century Europe, this story imagines the final days of Sophia Kovalevsky, the Russian mathematician and novelist. As she travels on a train across Europe, Kovalevsky reflects on her past and on her lovers. A mysterious doctor jolts her from her reverie, changing the course of her not-very-long life. On her deathbed, Kovalevsky’s last words are, “Too much happiness.” This leaves the reader with the question of whether this last woman is the only one to achieve happiness, or if she is deluded by her illness and is, at last, as miserable as the others.By the end of the collection, the reader is left to wonder what Munro might accomplish if she were to try her hand at writing stories about women who suffer less. Would her lyricism be lost?Originally published in the Chicago Maroon.more
Munro’s new book of short stories is filled with human beings. Just when you think you’ve found a character above reproach, though, Munro says to look again, and you find the ice has melted in your hands. You get the sense that Munro is very, very good at seeing into the hearts of people and finding we all come up short. The title is a cruel twist on the stories inside; an objective observer of these lives doesn’t find much happiness at all here. But is that really the case? It’s something---a little glimmer of happiness, maybe, perhaps some small happiness that comes from making it through troubles---that keeps these people moving along through their difficult lives.more
Read all 36 reviews

Reviews

The title story is about a real woman, a 17th century Russian novelist and mathematician named Sofia Kovalevskaya. In a series of short snapshots, it traces her struggle against men who couldn’t recognize her brilliance, or who were threatened by it. She reached for the things she wanted – work, love – but, as an extraordinary woman, she wasn’t allowed the satisfactions of an ordinary one.

Most of these subtle, well-written stories are about the relationships between men and women. The women are sometimes too passive, sometimes too forgiving, but they are survivors. They carve out lives for themselves in spite of both the small injustices and the larger outrages. Some of the stories are about family relationships, about people who spiral out from the center and don’t come back.
more
Brilliant collection of stories, beautifully written, many about women in the aftermath of a tragedy. This is serious fiction. My only real criticism is there isn't too much terribly surprising. Most of the stories have a similar structure: a first half describing a character's life and a second half where the face some climatic moment, usually divided by the revelation of a terrible event. Still, I found it very affecting.more
Alice Munro is a master of the short story, and this volume is no exception. Despite the title, most of these stories are about too little happiness, or really, too much tragedy. But she never takes the obvious approach to her devastating little plot lines, and it is this feature (along with her humor - she has one character express disappointment that a book she'd bought was a story collection instead of a novel, because it makes the writer seem like she is merely hanging on the gates of literature instead of being ensconced within) that distinguishes her. Though her prose is rarely flourished, she does allow herself a few truly beautiful moments, and those alone are worth the price of this latest collection.more
This is a collection of short stories with most of stories having women protagonists. There is no central theme or a connection between the stories. The best stories are "Dimensions", "Fiction" and "Too much happiness".The language and presentation of the stories is brilliant. It's a must read book.more
Slow and boring, this anthology is the same story of small-town longing and hope amongst heartache told over and over with amateurish verve. Stories by a late-middle-aged woman for other late-middle-aged women, delivered with the skilled panache of a community college workshop.more
Alice Munro has a propensity for diving into the seedy underbelly of the human condition with her writing; exploring our addictions to love, to abuse, to our own insecurities and to other various parts of life that seem unimportant to those around us. This was my first foray into reading collections of short stories and with only one story in the collection that I genuinely disliked I was not disappointed. I plan on checking out more of her work in the future.more
I've always admired the author's ability to play with nonlinear timelines, reveal characters in a simple gesture, capture those moments in life that have the power to change destiny. The title story is a dip into historical fiction. It contains this great line: "She was learning, quite late, what many people around her appeared to have known since childhood - that life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements." (p. 283)more
I've always loved Alice Munro's stories and this collection was no exception. She is a masterful writer who draws you into the characters' lives, then presents a shift of perspective or a single event (not necessarily a big event) that makes the reader suddenly rethink what has been happening. The main message in this collection seems to be that life has a way of going on no matter what. Sometimes, a major event brings you in a new direction; other times, it's just the passage of time that changes your perspectives about your life.Alice Munro is a master of the short story.more
I have to admit that I am struggling with short stories in general. Alice Monro´s, however, are more readable than most, but it is still difficult for me to get into a character, a situation, and then being asked to leave. Still, the short stories in Too Much Happiness are memorable, some of them make quite an impact, and I can see Munro is doing something to the short story tradition that I have never seen before: She manages to tell stories in the here and now, but during the course of the short story, this story is put into the perspective of a long life. In most of these short stories she is making huge time leaps - but it still feels very intimate. I am left with a feeling of the transparence of life, how we tend to see everything with blinders, not recognizing the perpective in which an important event in our lives have to our whole life. Monro writesabout both men and women, but it is our female characters she understands the best. I liked the fictional characters better than the real character in the title short story, but I can still see why Monro is fascinated with the character of Sophia Kovalevsky -also because her life demonstrates the leaps made since her death in women´s roles, lives and position.more
Beautifully written, finely crafted and emotionally engaging short stories - nine of which are about modern day Canada, but the last, title story, is about the last days of a Russian mathematician, with her story told in flash back. I particularly enjoyed "Wood".more
"It is not physical harm that is feared--or that I feared in Verna's case--so much as some spell, or dark intention. It is a feeling you can have when you are very young even about certain house faces, or tree trunks, or very much about moldy cellars or deep closets."With Munro, you're always in for a smooth, expert ride. I think this collection may have been better titled Evil Children or Bad Seeds, however. Munro isn't really a diehard cynic; she just acknowledges that we all have some nasty impulses inside--even, or especially, children, pretty young things and sweet old ladies.There seems to be an emphasis here on the very old (looking back, mulling over a youthful error) or the very young. Not her usual preoccupations with youthful lust, adulteries or marriage gone out of whack. Child's Play is a good example of the twin emphases: a woman named Marlene, perhaps of late middle-age, called (too late) to the deathbed of a childhood friend who she hasn't seen in decades. Which brings us back, eventually, to the two of them at camp when the narrator' s Marlene's nemesis, a disturbed or retarded girl called Verna, shows up. How Munro gets back to Verna's first appearance, how she grated on Marlene, sets up the era (1940s) and the familial circumstances ... it's classic Munro roundabout method but, you know, you don't even notice because your so absorbed in the sketching of the lives at the forefront.This collection is also notable for two stories that don't take place in Canada. "Dimensions," the opening story, could be present day, takes place in England. The evil seed in this case is the jealous, emotionally abusive husband married to a young girl; they have three very little children when ...Then there's the final story, :Too Much Happiness," about the last days of Sophia Kovlesky, a real, late 19th-century Russian mathematician. (Thanks goodness there's nonfiction book about her.) She was allowed by her family to study in Germany by getting married--a so-called White Marriage at first because her parents wouldn't have allowed her to go as an unmarried girl.. She also wrote a novel, had a daughter and led a frivolous life for a while in Russia, but with her husband's suicide and economic straits, she took up studying math again. Her fatherly German mentor secured a professorial position for her in Sweden--incredible at the time and then she won an important prize (which may be why there is a crater on the moon named after her.)In these last cold winter days, suffering from the first signs of pneumonia, she meets her Russian lover (an exiled Liberal, professor) in Genoa and Nice and they decide to marry; visits the husband of her dazzling dead sister in Paris, an impoverished veteran of the Commune, and then on to the home of her mentor in Berlin. Maybe it's the ferry boat journey on the way to Stockholm that was the final toll. You could write a book about it.more
Dimensions“Going to meet Lloyd... she had felt no guilt, only a sense of destiny, submission.”Fiction“It almost seemed as if there must be some random and of course unfair thrift in the emotional housekeeping of the world, if the great happiness -however temporary, however flimsy- of one person could come out of the great unhappiness of another.”Wenlock Edge“On their way to deeds they didn’t yet know they had in them.” last lineDeep-Holes“And it was possible, too, that age could be her ally, turning her into somebody she didn’t know yet.”Free Radicals“Now she knows what it is to really miss him. Like the air sucked out of the sky.”Face“You think that would have changed things?The answer is of course, and for a while, and never.”Some Women“I am amazed sometimes to think how old I am.” 1st line“I grew up, and old.” last lineChild’s Play“Every year, when you’re a child, you become a different person.”Wood“It’s a tall word that seems ominous but indifferent.”Too Much Happiness“She was too full of glowing and exceptional ideas to speak to people any longer.”more
Alice Munro is my favourite living short story writer, and this collection does not disappoint except, strangely for the long title story. Unlike the other contemporary pieces, this one is set in the nineteenth century and centres on the real-life Sophia Kovalevsky, a Russian mathematician and novelist. The story simply did not come to life for me, and it seems out of place among the rest of the collection, though Munro clearly wants to draw attention to it through the title. Other readers may be entirely captivated by the romantic complications Sophia faces; I am perfectly ready to accept that the fault is my own, but all criticism is subjective. The other stories are set in familiar Munro territory - in and around Ontario, focusing on small lives - but nothing is ever quite familiar with this writer, who has the unerring ability to unsettle us, often by examining the brittleness of relationships, sometimes by the placing of quirky incidents in seemingly ordinary circumstancess, as here in the story 'Wenlock Edge' where a student takes her friend's usual place as a solitary guest in a wealthy man's home and is invited, quite coolly and charmingly, to dine with him completely naked. Equally oddly, she complies, without knowing why, and nothing happens - the man continues conversational and correct throughout the meal. The perverse strangeness of it reminded me of Pip's visits to Miss Havisham in 'Great Expectations'.I believe Miss Munro has said this will be her last book. She is 75, but I do hope there's more to come from her yet. As readers of her work, we can't have too much happiness.more
I’m impressed with this woman’s ability to make the impossible and misunderstood decisions of her characters seem almost relatable. Details changed or not we all tend to make similar decisions in our lives that seem like madness to those on the outside. Alice Munro has a propensity for diving into the seedy underbelly of the human condition with her writing; exploring our addictions to love, to abuse, to our own insecurities and to other various parts of life that seem unimportant to those around us. This was my first foray into reading collections of short stories and with only one story in the collection that I genuinely disliked I was not disappointed. I plan on checking out more of her work in the future.more
Too much happiness : stories is a collection of nine new stories by Alice Munro. Good stories, with fair narration, (except for Kimberly Farr who is terrific as ever!) but a disappointment after the richness of her other works. I would recommend this collection only to those who are true Munro fans.more
Munro writes very well about difficult people, lives and emotions. Such depth in characters and story, but so dark or disturbing. I can't decide what I think. I kept reading because the stories were very interesting and well done, but now I'm ready for something abit lighter!more
Alice Munro is my new favorite female writer.more
I certainly without a doubt can appreciate the craft, that which is Alice Munro's writing, but felt uninterested in most of these stories. I enjoyed a few, but for me reading is entertainment, and I was bored. With that being said, I feel the power of Alice Munro's words, but that alone did not make this a great read for me. I hate that too, since everyone else loved it.more
I am normally a fan of Munro's work but this collection just didn't work for me. It felt too deliberate, as if the mechanics of the stories were more important than the stories themselves. I found the prose heavy and awkward in many places and the characters were similarly turbid.more
I enjoyed some of the stories, but not all of them. I think I prefer novels to short stories. Too much lacking in the short stories - I want to know what happened next. But that's not to say that they weren't all well written. Just for me, the genre isn't as satisfying.more
Someone else has written that Alice Munro's short stories are as complete as a novel - which was particularly the case in the collection's namesake. This is my first experience reading Alice Munro and I found her stories sinister, surprising, real, shocking, human - some I had to put down and regroup before I finished, others I had to read twice because I raced through the initial reading. I've discovered a wonderful writer, and I will seek more of her work.more
With apologies to Ms. Munro, an extremely capable writer, my subtitle for "Too Much Happiness" is "Too Much Tedium." I stopped reading half the entries midway through their boring narratives. One reviewer described this book as "dull and depressing." I don't mind depressing. I just don't have much patience for dull. Still, I must say "Faces" was an intriguing tale.more
Having heard Munro's name bandied about, I was anxious to read some of her work, and was not disappointed. I was intrigued by her style as much or more than I was with her stories themselves. Her portrayal of time is fascinating; I don't think that one of the stories in this collection was told in a linear fashion. Her main characters are also interesting, because in many of the stories, they end up being more subordinate than anything else. There is always something hidden, a gem to be discovered. I enjoyed this collection, and look forward to reading more.more
This is my introduction to Munro’s work and what a wonderful place to start. Yes, these ten stories are draped in loss and melancholy, but in Munro’s capable hands, they are also about hope and survival. These are well-developed characters and her prose is crisp and assured. Here is a description of a crabby old lady: “Certain suggestions, or notions, would make the muscles of her lean spotty face quiver, her eyes go sharp and black, and her mouth work as if there was a despicable taste in it. She could stop you in your tracks then, like a savage thorn bush.”Her writing is also inventive, daring and startling at times and wherever she takes me, I will follow. I feel this is just the beginning of a long enduring affair.more
I don’t read too many books of short stories, but this was a Christmas gift. So after finishing my last novel, I decided to pick this up instead of heading out to Barnes and Noble. The first story was intriguing; a young mother goes to visit her husband in an institution despite the terrible violence of his past. From there I continued with tales, mostly about women in Canada. My favorites were Fiction, about a woman who finds herself in a short story written by the daughter of her ex husband’s lover; and Child’s Play about a murder that happened during a child’s camping trip. I also enjoyed the intelligence of the women in Free Radicals. These are not typical short stories, at least not what I think of as the slice of life, the glimpse of a scene that is usually honed down to the barest of information. These are more like 30 page novels, often depicting the entire life of the character involved, and they are not without plot. Rather they are about murder, lost children, robbery, self mutilation, --more plot than many novels. The last story is different, a longer novella about Sophia Kovalevsky, the rather famous Russian Mathematician who become the first women professor in Sweden, a country that would at least recognize her genius. This story depicted her as she left her lover to go back to Sweden and during this train ride reflects back on her past life. All the stories were well written and thoughtful. The jacket cover nicely summarizes that Munro, “render complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.” That says it pretty well.more
Don’t be misled by the title of Alice Munro’s new collection of short stories, Too Much Happiness: These stories are anything but cheerful. In fact, they’re downright depressing, full of marital infidelities, drawn-out deaths, and traumatic childhoods. And yet, the stories are intensely lovely.Munro, who recently won the Booker Prize for this volume, has perfected the lyrical gut-wrencher. As in her previous collections of short stories, Munro places her characters in beautiful, rural Canadian settings before tearing their lives apart with shocking spasms of violence, both physical and emotional. It’s a formula that consistently forces the reader into a profound sympathy with her characters, but for all its emotional clout, the narrative blueprint becomes monotonous after 300-plus pages.Nine out of the 10 stories in Too Much Happiness are set in Canada’s recent past, with most taking place in Munro’s native Ontario. The descriptions of the Canadian landscape highlight Munro’s talent for spotting the crucial details that bring a story to life. The weeds in an abandoned garden, the composition of a rock formation, and the carved name of a long-shuttered bank are all closely observed, creating a strong sense of place and beauty.Inside this sepia-colored world, women from the whole spectrum of Canadian society give up their senses of self for the men in their lives. In the first story of the collection, a young woman struggles to forgive her husband for a violent act of madness. Another story focuses on a girl who goes to extremes to look like the severely birth-marked boy next door. Munro’s women all discover, in one way or another, that “the great happiness…of one person can come out of the great unhappiness of another.” The tragedy is that the women in these stories all fall in the latter half of that equation.Munro comes closest to doing something innovative in the book’s last story, which lends its name to the title of the whole collection. Taking place in the metropolises of 19th-century Europe, this story imagines the final days of Sophia Kovalevsky, the Russian mathematician and novelist. As she travels on a train across Europe, Kovalevsky reflects on her past and on her lovers. A mysterious doctor jolts her from her reverie, changing the course of her not-very-long life. On her deathbed, Kovalevsky’s last words are, “Too much happiness.” This leaves the reader with the question of whether this last woman is the only one to achieve happiness, or if she is deluded by her illness and is, at last, as miserable as the others.By the end of the collection, the reader is left to wonder what Munro might accomplish if she were to try her hand at writing stories about women who suffer less. Would her lyricism be lost?Originally published in the Chicago Maroon.more
Munro’s new book of short stories is filled with human beings. Just when you think you’ve found a character above reproach, though, Munro says to look again, and you find the ice has melted in your hands. You get the sense that Munro is very, very good at seeing into the hearts of people and finding we all come up short. The title is a cruel twist on the stories inside; an objective observer of these lives doesn’t find much happiness at all here. But is that really the case? It’s something---a little glimmer of happiness, maybe, perhaps some small happiness that comes from making it through troubles---that keeps these people moving along through their difficult lives.more
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