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Open Secrets: Stories Paperback – November 7, 1995


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Open Secrets: Stories + Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage: Stories + Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You: 13 Stories
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 294 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (November 7, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679755624
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679755623
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 4.9 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 9.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (31 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #132,215 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Loosely connected short stories mine both the history of a small Canadian town and the complex personal histories of Munro's protagonists.
Copyright 1995 Reed Business Information, Inc.

From Library Journal

For her newest gathering, Canadian novelist/short story writer Munro (Friends of My Youth, LJ 3/15/90) has collected another eight stories of women's lives. Most of the stories are set in and around the town of Carstairs, Alberta, where the Doud family is the biggest employer. Munro is a master at developing the details that bring her characters to life: In "Carried Away," librarian Louisa responds to the increasingly intimate correspondence of a World War II soldier, who fails to contact her when he returns home. In "A Wilderness Station," set in the 1850s when Carstairs is an outpost, orphaned Annie McKillop sets out for an uncertain future as the mail-order bride of a homesteader. These luminous, full-bodied stories will be widely enjoyed.
Ann H. Fisher, Radford P.L., Va.
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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

Stories are just not for me.
Amazon Customer
It's a complex story, peopled with multi-dimensional characters.
Jay Stevens
Alice Munro is one of a kind writer, awesome short story writer.
Judy Willis

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

43 of 46 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 23, 2001
Format: Paperback
It astounds me that some people find Munro's prose boring; hypnotic is the word I'd use. These stories aren't talk shows or soap operas or "Oprah stories" with heartwarming messages at the end. What they're about, in my view, is the strange and slippery role that time and memory play in our lives, and in that sense they join the tradition of Proust and Wordsworth. Munro is fascinated by experiences of disorientation or dislocation in which one no longer knows quite who one is, and by our stubborn attempts to make those moments fit into the narratives of our lives. But she also knows that those are the experiences that allow us to change, to get somewhere: the moments when we risk all because we have nothing to lose. Her small towns are about as folksy and harmless as Twin Peaks, because gaps keep opening in the dull fabric of their inhabitants' existence. Read beneath the surface, don't be fooled by the prosy, matter-of-fact tone, and you'll find that these are some weird and compelling stories indeed.
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45 of 51 people found the following review helpful By Jay Stevens on July 26, 2002
Format: Paperback
If you want to know exactly what's going on, if you want to get all the nuances the first time around, if you want to be fed a simple little story, go see a movie. Don't read this book.
If, however, you enjoy reading, if you like puzzling over plots and taking notes, if you like realistic characters with realistic problems, if you like words and sentences, if you like books...read "Open Secrets."
Munro is "great literature." I suspect that in a few hundred years, Hemingway stories will have withered away under scrutiny and our past century will belong to names like Tobias Wolff, Grace Paley, and Alice Munro. She really is that good. And I think it points to something problematic about the quality of primary education Americans receive that a college student would find Munro's stories too complicated for an undergraduate literature class.
And while I'm ranting...
What is it with disparaging a book - comparing it to a talk-show - because it's written by a woman, with women characters doing womanly things? If a book is about women, does that disqualify it from being great lit? Does there have to be a war complete with trenches before it wins accolades? I also shy away from the term, "women's literature." Why categorize it so? Some people create a new category of literature to put their women into, so that they don't have to defend them from the pinheads who mindlessly laud the "classics" tooth and nail. Forget it! Viriginia Woolf, Toni Morrison, and Alice Monro are great authors and compete against any male writer...
Anyway...
"Open Secrets" is an amazing book. Right off the top, she hits us with "Carried Away," where a small-town librarian falls in love with an unseen correspondent, only to have him die in a factory accident before she ever meets him.
Read more ›
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Kyle Minor on July 2, 2006
Format: Paperback
The best story in this collection is "Carried Away," and it, like many of the others, jumps around in time, and from character to character, revealing slowly what exactly it might be about, and then about-facing and revealing that it is about something else entirely, and then about-facing again, then again, until, finally, on the last page, one realizes that the story itself has been modeled after the very complexity of any group of lives as they move among one another, never quite knowing one another's whole story, or their own.

I've never read another writer quite like Alice Munro, and I don't expect I will anytime soon. This book is so its own that it resists the capsule review entirely, and must be experienced on its own terms, story by story.
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18 of 21 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 4, 2000
Format: Paperback
I don't recognize Munro's work in the reviews (editorial and customer) I've read here. Are these stories about women? Are they heavy and soporific? Not in my view. For the most part, I see loving, humorous looks at a piece of geography and its inhabitants, stories which are beautifully written, tightly woven, relaxed, and full of delicious discoveries about people and places. Lots of short stories end with a bang and then they are... over. Not Munro's. Hers never glib, never lazy. They are daring, warming, readable and re-rereadable.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 16, 1998
Format: Audio Cassette
Munro explores the nature of the dark secret, hidden from all but the reader, in these tales of fascinating and absolutely normal people. These stories are great for busy people; wonderful and short, they are great before-bed reading. Savour and enjoy!
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10 of 13 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on March 3, 1999
Format: Paperback
In "Open Secrets", Munroe tends to delve deep beneath the surface of women's lives. The stories contain intimate descriptions of feelings that many women try to hide, or even deny. The stories are classified as being "short", however the emotions that are brought forth through these words tell a tale that may soothe the soul for a lifetime. In "A Real Life", Dorrie is depicted as a sort of wild woman who shoots rabbits for food and fur, yet still remains dignified; in "Open Secrets", Maureen is a woman who marries her much older husband because she truly loves him, despite his stroke, but does he love her; finally, in "The Albanian Virgin", Charlotte and her strange husband Gjurdhi are presented, both live eccentric lives and leave a distinct impression on those that they meet. "Open Secrets" is a book made for women who want to explore their souls, and are not afraid to find what lies within. Once again, Alice Munroe has truly captured what is is to be "woman"!
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