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Carried Away: A Selection of Stories (Everyman's Library) Hardcover – September 26, 2006

4.7 out of 5 stars 18 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Review

“Munro stands as one of the living colossi of the modern short story, and her Chekhovian realism, her keen psychological insight, her instinctive feel for the emotional arithmetic of domestic life have indelibly stamped contemporary writing.”
—NEW YORK TIMES

“In Alice Munro’s hands, the smallest moments contain the central truths of a lifetime.”
—MACLEAN’S

“Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America.”
—NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW

“Captivating . . . Munro does what most writers dream of doing and succeeds at it, page after page, story after story, collection after collection.”
—THE OREGONIAN

“From a markedly finite number of essential components, Munro rather miraculously spins out countless permutations of desire and despair, attenuated hopes and cloudbursts of epiphany . . . Every one of these
women is different, and that is the wonder of Alice Munro.”
—THE VILLAGE VOICE

“Alice Munro is among the major writers of English fiction of our time . . . In Munro’s work, grace abounds, but it is strangely disguised: nothing can be predicted. Emotions erupt. Preconceptions crumble. Surprises proliferate. Astonishments leap out. Malicious acts can have positive consequences. Salvation arrives when least expected, and in peculiar forms.”
—from the Introduction by Margaret Atwood

About the Author

Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published thirteen collections of stories as well as a novel, Lives of Girls and Women, and two volumes of Selected Stories. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including three of Canada’s Governor General’s Literary Awards and two of its Giller Prizes, the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England’s W. H. Smith Book Award, the National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Man Booker International Prize. In 2013 she was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, The Paris Review, Granta, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages. She lives in Clinton, Ontario, near Lake Huron. 
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 608 pages
  • Publisher: Everyman's Library; 1st edition (September 26, 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307264866
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307264862
  • Product Dimensions: 5.3 x 1.3 x 8.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (18 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #294,811 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
These stories were purportedly selected by Alice Munro herself. Well, I guess Alice needs to make a living, too, as well as writing masterpiece after masterpiece. However, every story in the selection draws meaning and resonance from its original context in the suite of stories from which it was extracted. If you've never read Munro, I'd suggest getting the early collection Moons of Jupiter. If you're not blown away by that book, you wouldn't be "carried away" by the Everyman's Library selection either. On the other hand, if you are astonished by the emotional subtlety of the Moons, then you'll want to buy and read the other ten story-books as well!
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I have come to the fiction of Alice Munro late. She has been producing extraordinary short stories set in Ontario, Cananda mostly for decades. And she captures a working-class world for me that speaks to my own roots. The stories are about people first and I expect place secondly, but her sense of the culture and social stratification are so accurate they make me remember and realize. Her sense of detail and dialogue are also accurate and winning. I give this big compendium 5 stars, and recommend her to all.
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Alice Munro is one of the foremost writers of our time, but she is not well-known in the US, probably because she writes primarily short stories, a genre not particularly well sold here. But if one only gives her a chance, they will find her short stories are of such depth and detail and emotion and pain and regret and every other part of humanity, that they are just as satisfying as the best novels we could read.

Carried Away is a collection of her best stories up to 2004's Runaway. For those who haven't read her, this is a great place to start. The selection starts with the best from her 1978 collection, Who Do You Think You Are?, and samples her best work throughout the 80's and 90's. Munro herself is from southwest Ontario, Canada, and most of her stories are set here. They are almost an anthropological study of the people there in their precise detail. In fact, Munro is often compared to Chekhov for that detail, the omniscient narrator she often employs, and the placing of moments of epiphany over plot in her hierarchy of literary priorities. She also likes to shift around in time, as well as perspectives, to give the reader a well-rounded view of the story. I especially like this Rashomon-type technique, as it allows the reader to come to the truth despite the subjectivity and biases of the individual characters.

All of the stories collected here are excellent, but the two that close the collection are my favorites. `Runaway' is about an unhappy woman who considers leaving her husband. In this story, all of Munro's techniques are on display to paint a heartbreaking portrait of a woman trying to come to terms with her husband and her life. There are the multiple POVs, the stark and detailed narrative, and the use of letters to reveal a truth.
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To read an Alice Munro short story is to allow yourself to be totally transported to an elevated awareness of human nature and go "I know how that feels". The amazing thing about Munro is her ability to put into words (that are both precise and concise) emotions and demeanours that we are familiar with, but which we have not been able to articulate (at least for this reader).

Because of its compact nature, I find myself thrown headlong into a Munro story from the very first sentence and there's no letting go till the very last word. But the story doesn't just end there; it continues to resonate in your consciousness and you have to take a breather before you plunge into the next story.

This collection is a broad overview of a career that has spanned more than 40 years, and arranged chronologically. So it's interesting to see how she progressed from the viewpoint of a young girl in 'Royal Beatings' to that of an elderly couple in the last story 'The Bear Came Over the Mountain' (made into the movie 'Away from Her')from the 2001 collection 'Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage'.

In that titular story, a seemingly conventional schoolgirl prank of fake love letters lead to an unusually happy ending for the misguided couple, while the conspiratorial guilty parties fall apart. The story of a small bookshop owner with an unhappy past is interspersed with the story of an American traveller who is taken captive and then adopted by a tribe, which is overlaid by the bookshop owner's own relationship with a hippie couple in 'The Albanian Virgin'.
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Using spare sentences and stark settings, Alice Munro covers in one short story a novel's worth of human experience. Each word is pregnant with nuance and meaning, as if she spent all of her time paring down her work until only the most esstential and core words remained. Even though the themes of her stories are permutations, read each story one at a time, appreciating it like the gem that it is. I will definitely read more of her work.
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