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Runaway Paperback – November 8, 2005
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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Runaway is no exception. The stories take place throughout Canada--northern Ontario, the Prairies, the West Coast, Stratford--and feature women and men drifting in and out of each other's orbits, pulled by forces they don't understand. In "Runaway," a woman considers leaving her husband with the help of a neighbor, but the husband has other plans. In "Chance," a woman leaves her life behind in a quest for a man she met on a train crossing the country. Their intertwined lives play out through two more stories, "Soon" and "Silence," but the path they follow is as unpredictable to the reader as it is to them. In "Trespasses," a small town's women dream of escaping their lives only to find themselves in lives they never imagined.
What really marks the stories is Munro's sense of mood. There's a sense of hidden menace or even violence everywhere in Runaway. It occasionally erupts, but always in surprising and unexpected ways, and with unintended consequences. Munro may be an old-fashioned storyteller, but she understands chaos theory well enough. The same story? Sure. But it's a damn good one. --Peter Darbyshire, Amazon.ca --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
The title story itself is one of the best long short stories that I can remember. (But I would still like to know what happened to Flora...)
The story called 'Silence' is a very troubling horror story out of real life.
Munro writes about daily life and 'human' relations and neighborhood problems and life stories, including several versions of plausible horror, with a simplicity and precision that can only be achieved through hard work (or through lucky genius). She is entirely free of mannerisms and of cheap tricks (unlike some contemporary American writers that I am just having a big disagreement about.)
Take "Chance," "Soon" and "Silence," a trio of stories about Juliet, a young woman whose choices about who to speak to on a train change her life forever. Munro masterfully picks three incidents, the train ride, a visit home, and a search for a daughter, and through them tells the story of Juliet's life. I found it sad to see how the great passion of the first story ends in an accident by the third. Or "Tricks," perhaps the most painful story in the collection. The story opens with Robin saying the most banal thing one could imagine, "I'll die if that dress isn't ready." Then we learn why, and when Munro repeats the line again we see it's fraught with meaning. We learn of a chance meeting that offers a promise that's snatched away a year later; only at the end of her life does Robin learn what really happened.
Suicides, lost souls and disappointments thread through these stories. Munro's world is a lost and lonely place, and be forewarned--none of these stories promises a happy ending. But they're beautifully written and struck a chord--don't we all recall brief, seemingly trivial moments years later and wonder what if?
Runaway seems to be a meditation on several themes. The obvious one is the idea of flight. Her characters flee in a multitude of ways-- successfully, unsuccessfully, with large rebellion and small. Small town life with all its constraints and beauty is explored through the context of young women trying to come to terms with its limitations.
This book would be suitable for anyone who is a lover of strong character-driven fiction (short or otherwise). If you read and appreciate writers like Marilynne Robinson, then this will likely be a book for you. It will be high on my list of books to be given as a gift this year.
What she offers instead is a conversational tone that is quirky and fractured enough to rise above the blandness of a typical conversational style. For example, this is how she renders a crucial scene in one story where the protagonist has entered the house of a man she has a crush on. Note the parenthesis, the incongruous academic metaphor, and the sentence fragments: "Juliet hears the door of the truck close, she hears him speaking to the dog, and dread comes over her. She wants to hide somewhere (she says later, I could have crawled under the table, but of course she does not think of doing anything so ridiculous). It's like the moment at school before the winner of the prize is announced. Only worse, because she has no reasonable hope. And because there will never be another chance so momentous in her life."
Furthermore, her stories don't so much ask us to root for the characters so much as to examine them, to consider their mistakes and misperceptions. For example, Munro's stories often break out into reflective moments like this one: "While she was running away from him - now - Clarke still kept his place in her life. But when she was finished running away, when she just went on, what would she put in his place? What else - who else - could ever be so vivid a challenge?Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This author was unknown to me, but this book was selected for my book group. I was surprised to find how much I liked Alice Munro's writing. Read morePublished 14 days ago by MulchMaid
http://www.amazon.com/Runaway-Alice-Munro/dp/1400077915?ie=UTF8&ref_=cm_cr_ryp_prd_ttl_sol_2Published 3 months ago by Arthur
Alice Munro is a wonderful storyteller. She is an expert in short story writing, and I have read enough of them to compare. Runaway is no exception. Read morePublished 3 months ago by Cam42150
I read Alice Monro's short stories titled Dear Life and treasured them so much I also bought Runaway and was engrossed in her brilliant writing and ability to take the reader with... Read morePublished 5 months ago by Irena Chalmers
Alice Munro has delivered stories that ring with emotion and truth. Her characters are women, lonely, scared, worried, all who want to escape or retain some lost knowledge. Read morePublished 9 months ago by K.N.R.