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Friend of My Youth: Stories Paperback – May 7, 1991

27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

These timeless stories often concern Canadians who look back on years past from middle or old age. According to PW, "It is difficult to do justice to Munro's magical way with characterization or to her unerring control of her own resources; she writes . . . with a trenchant knowledge of life and fiction as conspiring forces of creation."
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

Munro is an established author, one of the few who have mastered the art of short story writing. This fine collection contains ten stories that are all good to read. Most--but not all--are about the inhabitants of small Canadian towns. The primary characters, mainly women, have diverse relationships with their families and other unusual acquaintances. The plots are sometimes funny, sometimes tragic, but always within the realm of realism. Very seldom does anything occur that seems too ridiculous to actually have happened to somebody one knows. Most readers will find these stories entertaining and often thought-provoking. Recommended for libraries already owning Munro's previous works and also for those that may have missed her in the past. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 11/15/89.
- Mary Prokop, CEL Regional Lib., Savannah, Ga.
Copyright 1990 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage; 1st Vintage contemporaries ed edition (May 7, 1991)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679729577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679729570
  • Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.6 x 8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #126,299 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

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

27 of 27 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 26, 1998
Format: Paperback
I loved this book so much I decided to write my Master's Thesis in Literature on it; we've all got parents, friends, or someone we know that turn up in every one of these stories. Munro's insights into how humans deal with relationships, death, and collective community social consciousness are continually profound and eye-opening. Pay special attention to things "Gothic" in this collection as in Open Secrets: repressed sexuality, pleasurable dread, anxiety, remorse, unnatural silences....the list goes on and on. No-one better captures the paradox of connected everyday surfaces and hidden, underground nightmares than Munro.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful By jennifer_thompson@hp.com on July 4, 1998
Format: Paperback
Reading stories such as "Differently," about a woman's reminiscences and regret about the people of her past made me reflect that life turns out differently than our original aspirations. It isn't always regret, but it is rarely indifferent. As soon as I finished a story, I immediately wanted to reread it, and understand the character better. These are beautiful, gentle stories about lives that sometimes meander, sometimes change abruptly, but that are always determined by the choices and accidents of living. Munro's love, sometimes curiosity, for her characters is a privilege to experience.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 1997
Format: Hardcover
With this collection of stories, Munro secured her place as one of the best short fiction writers of our time. These are thick, meaty pieces, inhabited by characters as
real as any that walk on land, as multifaceted and confused as you or I. Munro's shocking control of the English language and profound understanding of human
nature make these ten stories among the most important of the twentieth century.
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Reviewer on October 20, 2006
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is my least favorite of Munro's story-suites, the only one I wouldn't give five stars. Perhaps I'm simply defensive as a male reader, but the men in these stories seem more despicable than most of my friends and I find the women hard to share time with. These stories attend more to Munro's identity as a writer, also, making them annoyingly self-referential and literary. Whatever you do, don't make this collection your first encounter with one of the greatest writers of our lifetimes.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By John P. Jones III TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on July 26, 2013
Format: Paperback
This is the sixth collection of Munro's short stories that I've read. I've reviewed four collections previously. The others that are reviewed are: Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose Too Much Happiness: Stories and The Progress of Love. Each I've given my own "extra" rating of "six stars." Of the 825 reviews currently posted, I've reached for the extra dimensional star approximately 30 times. And now it will be five times for Munro; the only author for me to go "extra dimensional" more than once. Obviously, I remain...er...ah...deeply infatuated.

How does she do it? I think of fine American writers of the South, like Eudora Welty and Carson McCullers, and she is their equal in terms of their insights into the human condition. The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter brilliantly depicts the quiet sorrows and loneliness of several individuals' lives. Munro is brilliant in this regard also, but what truly sets her apart is the sheer range of her characters, the constant originality of her material, and how she is able to distill the intensity of a novel, such as McCullers' classic, into a mere 25 page short story.

"Friend of My Youth" was first published in 1990, still in the first half of her oeuvre.
Read more ›
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Manola Sommerfeld on May 21, 2001
Format: Paperback
I was a bit let down by this compilation. I really enjoyed "The Love of a Good Woman", but the stories in "Friend of my Youth" started to sound a bit repetitious after a while. Of the 10 stories, 7 had a cheating spouse in them. There were some variations on the theme, but in the most common it was the wife who committed adultery, usually resulting in her abandoning her children and moving somewhere else.
This common theme became too hard to bear after a while. After reading the book i felt overexposed to this (seemingly) widespread malaise of society. The writing is fine, and the character development is excellent (i can only imagine how hard it must be to achieve this in a short story), but i wish Alice Munro had explored other human passions and/or vices apart from infidelity.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 8, 1997
Format: Paperback
With this collection of stories, Munro secured her place as one of the best short fiction writers of our time. These are thick, meaty pieces, inhabited by characters as real as any that walk on land, as multifaceted and confused as you or I. Munro's shocking control of the English language and profound understanding of human nature make these ten stories among the most important of the twentieth century
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