I have enjoyed the few Alice Munro stories that I’ve read – usually in back issues of The New Yorker – and so decided to take the plunge with this one. I was not disappointed. Each story has a unique twist and tension, well drawn characters (and some good shady ones, too), and scenes that are familiar and Canadian.
The title story is one of the best – a creepy tale about some teenagers who play a terrible trick on a naïve woman, and her remarkable recovery. I also really enjoyed “What is Remembered” (set in Vancouver) and “Floating Bridge”.
A common theme is the lead character’s analysis and acceptance of the choices that they have made in their lives. Those choices, even if perceived to be no choice at all, are still their responsibility. There are regrets and second-guessing, but no self-pity and no blaming-the-world, just the acknowledgment that we are the choices that we make.
8. A book written by a female author.
9. A book that has been a film.
12. A book set where you currently live (at least 2 stories are based in Vancouver).
18. A book of short stories.
*I’ve determined that I cannot meet my overall list goal without dropping one of the “books I’ve already read” from the list, so sadly A Prayer for Owen Meany will no longer count in my list for the year.