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Dance of the Happy Shades: And Other Stories Paperback – August 11, 1998


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Editorial Reviews

Review

Praise from fellow writers:

“Her work felt revolutionary when I came to it, and it still does.” —Jhumpa Lahiri

“She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion.” —Jonathan Franzen

“The authority she brings to the page is just lovely.” —Elizabeth Strout

“She’s the most savage writer I’ve ever read, also the most tender, the most honest, the most perceptive.” —Jeffery Eugenides

“Alice Munro can move characters through time in a way that no other writer can.”—Julian Barnes

“She is a short-story writer who…reimagined what a story can do.” —Lorrie Moore

“There’s probably no one alive who’s better at the craft of the short story.” —Jim Shepard

“A true master of the form.” —Salman Rushdie

“A wonderful writer.” —Joyce Carol Oates

From the Inside Flap

In these fifteen short stories--her eighth collection of short stories in a long and distinguished career--Alice Munro conjures ordinary lives with an extraordinary vision, displaying the remarkable talent for which she is now widely celebrated. Set on farms, by river marshes, in the lonely towns and new suburbs of western Ontario, these tales are luminous acts of attention to those vivid moments when revelation emerges from the layers of experience that lie behind even the most everyday events and lives.

"Virtuosity, elemental command, incisive like a diamond, remarkable: all these descriptions fit Alice Munro."--Christian Science Monitor

"How does one know when one is in the grip of art--of a major talent?....It is art that speaks from the pages of Alice Munro's stories."--Wall Street Journal
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage Contemporaries ed edition (August 11, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 067978151X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679781516
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (25 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #199,385 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published eleven previous books.During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the W.H. Smith Prize, the National Book Circle Critics Award, the PEN/Malamud Award for Excellence in Short Fiction, the Lannan Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, and the Rea Award for the Short Story. In Canada, she has won the Governor General's Award, the Giller Prize, the Trillium Book Award, and the Libris Award.Alice Munro and her husband divide their time between Clinton, Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia.

Customer Reviews

It's a good starting place.
Giordano Bruno
The author's amazing ability to create depth and meaning in original ways is on full display here.
RUHU
I hadnt read much Alice Munro before but I was very impressed with this collection of stories.
Warrick Wynne

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

37 of 39 people found the following review helpful By Warrick Wynne on January 25, 2001
Format: Paperback
I hadnt read much Alice Munro before but I was very impressed with this collection of stories. There's a wonderful understatement about the entire collection, but each story resonates with its own life and people. I loved the melancholy and moody landscapes, the other-worlds of women and children mainly on farms and villages.
I think good stories create their own unique life; after all, why else would we care about characters who we meet and get to know so briefly? But we DO care about the characters; somehow they matter and though nothing is resolved sometimes, somehow everything has changed. The ordinary transformed.
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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Giordano Bruno on October 22, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you haven't read Alice Munro before, you're in luck! you have some ten volumes of the best writing in English to select from! This collection includes some of Munro's earliest stories, at least as early as 1968, and one of her best known, "The Red Dress". It's a good starting place. If you've already read Munro's later story-suites, such as Runaway, then you'll be intrigued to find a less distinctive but equally crafty word-artist in Happy Shades. The stories in this collection are less interpenetrating, less like a novel in the form of a suite, than in other collections, but that's not a flaw, just a difference. One story (I won't declare which) ranks in my mind as a classic equal to any in English. If a short-story writer is ever to win the Nobel Prize, in my opinion it should be Alice Munro.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Steven W. Mccornack on March 4, 2007
Format: Paperback
If I could write a letter to Ms Munro, it would simply say...thank you for sharing your gift, and then probably, quit reading your fan mail and write some more short stories! Munro's gift is to make the simplest tale accessible to every reader, and whatever twists and turns she may take you on, your brain in sheer delight will exclaim..."of course!" She is capable of making the most isolated 1930's farm come alive to modern urban condo dwellers. Like a Rosetta stone of feeling and emotion, she allows the readers to inhabit the characters fully, regardless of gender or personality or circumstance. This collection is further evidence and testament to that gift, and of that genius. Write on, Ms Munro, write on!
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Reader in Tokyo on March 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
This book came out in 1968 and contained 15 short stories. It was the first of the 12 or so collections of short works Munro has published to date.

The stories here were set in farmlands or small towns, presumably in Ontario's back country. The collection showed a range of narrative voices: in the first person by girls, although it was clear the narrators were adults and recalling events from childhood; by adult women, married or unmarried; and even a teenage boy. And in the third person, either omniscient or following the viewpoint of a woman or girl. Eleven of the pieces were written in the first person, and for me these were where the author's work was most memorable, particularly when she was speaking through the girls, recalling the past.

Examples included "Boys and Girls," in which the narrator recalled, amid a description of her farming childhood, a growing awareness of differences in the expectations for each sex; sensitivity was allowed only for girls, and not necessarily approved even then. And "Walker Brothers Cowboy," in which the narrator recalled a visit with her traveling salesman father to the father's old flame, with much emotion apparent but left unexpressed. For me, these were the standouts. Other stories covered a narrator's attending a school dance, a piano recital, and the first experience with alcohol.

What I enjoyed most in the pieces was the sensitivity to the passing of time; the strong moral sense, understated but present, as in the title story; attention to the complexities of family ties and girls' experience; a sharp ear for the way people speak; and a strong feeling for small-town life, which wouldn't be out of place in the American South.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Deerpath on December 6, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Dance of the Happy Shades: And Other Stories" is Alice Munro's first book of short stories published in the year 1968, and it established her as a top writer. She is one of the major voices of Canada, especially with her focus on the communities and farms of southwestern Ontario. With her regional study in her fiction, she reaches out to express all human life in all space and in all time. She definitely deserved the honour of winning the Nobel Prize in Literature for the year 2013. From her book "Dance of the Happy Shades: And Other Stories," I have taught her short story "Boys and Girls" at least ten times. My students and I have dearly loved this story about the growth in awareness of the girl narrator. I have also read the other stories in the volume, and particularly like her short story "Thanks for the Ride." It mirrors young people's lives from the ages of sixteen to twenty so very well. I gave "Dance of the Happy Shades: And Other Stories" to my nephew, who is eighteen years old and a freshman at Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota, U.S.A., for a Christmas gift this year 2013. I know that he will really enjoy reading this first book by Alice Munro, this year's Nobel Laureate. Thank you for shipping it to my nephew, now in Duluth, Minnesota, U.S.A. It arrived in perfect condition. I am so very glad to give him this book for Chistmas.
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