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The Progress of Love Paperback – December 12, 2000
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Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
fifty-odd characters over the course of a story collection and
make them seem like various aspects of a complex and
sensitive personality. These stories are careful and elegant,
and writers will note Munro's idiosyncratically beautiful use
of unexpected adjectives. But even without such wonderful
writing, her stories would speak for themselves: her characters
live life directly, simply, and often painfully, and they have
more feeling than they can express. Munro does it for them. This collection includes
"The Moon in the Orange Street Skating Rink," one of the
most moving stories I can imagine. Read it and weep.
What's so good about Munro's writing? Foremost is her precision. The center of the short story writer's craft is economy. It's very difficult to find a word that doesn't advance both story and theme in Munro's work. The reader finds himself stopping to ponder passages not because they're opaque but because they are so powerfully rendered and so intricately woven. I've taught "Monsieur Les Deux Chapeaux" for seven years, and Ross's moment on the bridge never fails to transport me and my students. I don't expect to find an end to my thought about this moment or the story itself. It will unquestionably remain a short story by which I measure all others.
Each story is well crafted and Munro's style is very straight forward. Most stories take place in rural Ontario with a little bit of Toronto thrown in.
I titled the review "haunting" because I came away feeling that I'd been spying on the inner thoughts of others in a portion of their every day lives.
I was particularly touched by Monsieur Les Deux Chapeaux which told the the stories of twin brothers. One is a typical man and the other is somewhat mentally challenged. Their relationship is both interesting and touching.
There are other great stories as well. I honestly needed to take a break from the book at one point and return to it after a couple of days.
Munro is an excellent writer but in totality I'm not sure if she's my cup of tea. I'll need to read more.
Some stories of note:
"Progress of Love" - - This is about a family reunion and the family history recounted there. There is one especially tormenting scene of a young girl witnessing her mother's attempted suicide in order to get at her philandering husband. This young girl, now a woman, has harbored so much hatred towards her father over the years that she burns the $3000 inheritance he leaves her.
"Monsieur Les Deut Chapeaux" - - Colin and Ross are brothers. Ross is mildly developmentally disabled. Colin has flashbacks wherein he remembers a time when he shot Ross. He truly did not shoot Ross, but Ross played a practical joke on Colin. Because of this, Colin sees his life's work as assuring that Ross is not ever hurt.
"Fits" -- A Woman, delivering some eggs to her neighbors, discovers a suicide/murder. How she reacts to it and how her husband reacts to her reaction make up this story. She is extremely low key and this is juxtaposed with the town's horror at the crime and the gruesomeness of it.
"A Queer Streak" - - This is one of my favorite stories. A young woman gives up her life's ambitions in a martyred attempt to take care of her family. Meanwhile, her sister has written threatening, perverse letters to their father and pretends that they are coming from a potential murderer.
All in all, there are always some gems in Alice Munro's collections.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Alice Munro has blown me out of the water once again. with her insights into the intricacies and delicious complications of family life and love.Published 3 months ago by judy wiley
Even though she received awards for her writing, I did not enjoy this book. The stories seemed to go no where, and I had difficulty trying to figure out the progress of love in... Read morePublished 15 months ago by texaszippeee