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Too Much Happiness [Kindle Edition]

Alice Munro
3.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (112 customer reviews)

Print List Price: $15.95
Kindle Price: $9.99
You Save: $5.96 (37%)
Sold by: Random House LLC

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Book Description

WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE® IN LITERATURE 2013

Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers—the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.

With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories about the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.
 
In the first story a young wife and mother, suffering from the unbearable pain of losing her three children, gains solace from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other tales uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and, in the long title story, the yearnings of a nineteenth-century female mathematician.


From the Trade Paperback edition.


Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Amazon Best Books of the Month, November 2009: "She hated to hear the word 'escape' used about fiction. She might have argued, not just playfully, that it was real life that was the escape. But this was too important to argue about." Taken from a story called "Free Radicals," this line may be the best way to think about the lives unfolding in Alice Munro's Too Much Happiness. Real life assaults her central characters rather brutally--in the forms of murder and madness, death, divorce, and all manner of deceptions--but they respond with a poise and clarity of thought that's disarming--sometimes, even nonchalant--when you consider their circumstances. Her women move through life, wearing their scars but not so much wearied by them, profoundly intelligent, but also inordinately tender and thoughtful. There's more fact than fiction to these stories, rich in quiet, precise details that make for a beautiful, bewildering read. --Anne Bartholomew

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Munro's latest collection is satisfyingly true to form and demonstrates why she continues to garner laurels (such as this year's Man Booker International Prize). Through carefully crafted situations, Munro breathes arresting life into her characters, their relationships and their traumas. In Wenlock Edge, a college student in London, Ontario, acquires a curious roommate in Nina, who tricks the narrator into a revealing dinner date with Nina's paramour, the significantly older Mr. Purvis. Child's Play, a dark story about children's capacity for cruelty and the longevity of their secrets, introduces two summer camp friends, Marlene and Charlene, who form a pact against the slightly disturbing Verna, whose family used to share Marlene's duplex. The title, and final, story, the collection's longest and most ambitious, takes the reader to 19th-century Europe to meet Sophia Kovalevski, a talented mathematician and novelist who grapples with the politics of the age and the consequences of success. While this story lacks some of the effortlessness found in Munro's finest work, the collection delivers what she's renowned for: poignancy, flesh and blood characters and a style nothing short of elegant. (Nov.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

Product Details

  • File Size: 1240 KB
  • Print Length: 321 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 0307742253
  • Publisher: Vintage (November 17, 2009)
  • Sold by: Random House LLC
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B002VT6C0K
  • Text-to-Speech: Not enabled
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  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #52,526 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
121 of 144 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars TOO MUCH HAPPINESS BY ALICE MUNRO November 17, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
It is an honor to review 'Too Much Happiness' by Alice Munro, who I consider the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language. Ms. Munro is Canadian and lives in Clinton, Ontario. During her writing career she has garnered many awards including the Lannan Literary Award, the United States National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, as well as many other literary publications. I consider her an icon.

With each book of hers that I have read (and I have read them all!) I think that she has reached her zenith. Yet, with each new publication, I find her newest work better than her previous publications. Her work is glorious. At the rate she's going now, her zenith may be light years away.

I find the metaphor of looking into a tide pool an apt one for describing the stories of Ms. Munro. A tide pool is a microcosm of the ocean, yet it has a certain stasis and life of its own. It is a living organism, relating to the macrocosm of life in many ways. The tide pool contains living species of fish, reptiles and crustaceans, all delineated by their own life cycle which can change with the tides or with the events of weather. Ms. Munro's stories are like this. She will take a small microcosm of life and show how it has enduring and lifelong effects - effects which may be immediately observable or which may not be obvious for decades.

'Too Much Happiness' is a collection of ten short stories, each wonderful in their own right and each one as rich and nuanced as a novel. Many of them deal with similar themes - paradox, movement through time, repercussions of impulse, regret, acts of horror and relationships.
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30 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Stretching ... December 11, 2009
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
The characters in Alice Munro's newest book, some anyway, are more extreme than I've been used to encountering in her earlier books. There are two triple-murderers, a woman whose childhood friend helped her kill another girl, a beloved son who chooses to be a derelict, the male narrator (rare for Alice) whose port-wine birthmark thwarts his whole life, and there are a statistiacally improbable number of "specials", people with disabilities of intelligence. The dysfunctional relationships, Munro's perennial subject, are more extreme, or perhaps just more quirky, than in previous portrayals. Munro's stories have always stayed close to home - southern Ontario - and close to plain folk, to herself, her family, her ordinary `others'. That's been the great strength of her work, really -- her honesty, her close-to-bone reality. Now in her seventies, in this book and in her 2006 "The View from Castle Rock", Munro seems to be stretching her range both in time and space, writing about emigrants of the previous generation, about people who weren't and couldn't have been neighbors ... and in the title story of this collection, "Too Much Happiness", she's written a long story/novella about a Russian woman mathematical prodigy of the 19th Century. It's easy to understand why she wants to stretch, to establish her claim to some universality and some ability to get beyond her own identity as a subject. No one who has read all of her previous work, as I have, could deny that she has "written the same story again and again." She has. Or rather, she has written her several stories again and again, like Leitmotives, in her eleven books. That is NOT, believe me, a weakness in her art. Read more ›
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars She's Earned the Right to Write Something Else ... January 9, 2011
Format:Paperback
... something outside her usual range, and in this collection she certainly exercises that right. This is a second edition of "Too Much Happiness" with a different cover; I almost grabbed it and bought it in a bookstore before I recognized some of the story titles. Don't make that same mistake, unless you have an urge to give a copy to your favorite niece or nephew. Here's the review I wrote of the first edition, many months ago:

The characters in Alice Munro's newest book, some anyway, are more extreme than I've been used to encountering in her earlier books. There are two triple-murderers, a woman whose childhood friend helped her kill another girl, a beloved son who chooses to be a derelict, the male narrator (rare for Alice) whose port-wine birthmark thwarts his whole life, and there are a statistiacally improbable number of "specials", people with disabilities of intelligence. The dysfunctional relationships, Munro's perennial subject, are more extreme, or perhaps just more quirky, than in previous portrayals. Munro's stories have always stayed close to home - southern Ontario - and close to plain folk, to herself, her family, her ordinary `others'. That's been the great strength of her work, really -- her honesty, her close-to-bone reality. Now in her seventies, in this book and in her 2006 "The View from Castle Rock", Munro seems to be stretching her range both in time and space, writing about emigrants of the previous generation, about people who weren't and couldn't have been neighbors ... and in the title story of this collection, "Too Much Happiness", she's written a long story/novella about a Russian woman mathematical prodigy of the 19th Century.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome!
I loved this collection of short stories. Alice Munro's writing was concise and yet extremely detailed and emotional at the same time. It was superb. Read more
Published 17 days ago by Tawni
4.0 out of 5 stars Short story master
Munro is a Canadian icon. She writes about people we all know. I am not always happy with the outcome - but that is how it is with short stories.
Published 29 days ago by Sheilah Forward
4.0 out of 5 stars very well written short stories
This was my first experience with Munro and I am now a fan. Her stories are made with such care and are beautiful
Published 1 month ago by Georgia
3.0 out of 5 stars Stark and depressing
I kept searching for some meaning or purpose ...or even just a good read...in these stories. But instead it was one depressing (or confusing) litany after the other. Read more
Published 1 month ago by KWDC
5.0 out of 5 stars Good Read
Dark and wonderful as Alice Munro always is. . .not for everybody but a very good read for her fans.
Published 1 month ago by Lorna R. Keith
1.0 out of 5 stars No Happiness in that Book!
No
Happiness in that book. Down right depressing. Would not recommend it. Where did the author come up with those stories?
Published 2 months ago by Kathleen G. Hall
5.0 out of 5 stars Probing into the human soul
I found the stories exhilarating, intriguing and profoundly humane. Stories which make the difference. Style and topics are simply superb
Published 2 months ago by Luisa Montivero
4.0 out of 5 stars Open endings
Beautifully written, but I'm not a fan of open endings. Will continue reading more books by her to be sure.
Published 2 months ago by Andrea
3.0 out of 5 stars Not enough happiness
Too dark. Not much happiness in any of the stories. Off-putting with the first story about 3 dead children. Other dead children to follow.
Published 2 months ago by Carol A. Robinson
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful! As Always
How does Alice Munro manage to crank out these impressive stories so flawlessly crafted. Everyone is memorable, but the final "Too Much Happiness"--as lengthy and... Read more
Published 2 months ago by Julie Ann Wambach
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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.

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