Alice Munro’s Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories is, as the title would suggest, a collection of her short stories.

They’re largely little slice of life vignettes. Each stands alone; taken as a whole collection, though, themes emerge. Most of them are about relationships, in one way or another—good marriages, bad marriages, not marriages at all. A bunch of them are about going home, or not going home, or really just generally the complicated relationship that someone who’s moved away might have with their small-town home. And a very grim percentage of them are about people who are dying or have degenerative medical conditions, and how they face that.

It’s easy to see why Munro has won all the prizes she has; she’s masterful at characterization, piercing through the stories and myths that people build around themselves, cutting directly and surgically to the core of her characters’ innermost selves—but doing so with a kind of fundamental kindness, rather than cruelty.

If you think you’d like this, you almost certainly will. Highly recommended.


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