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Too Much Happiness (Vintage International) Paperback – November 2, 2010
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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 --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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. --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
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Top customer reviews
Although I usually don't read much fiction, I am addicted to her work. Out of the many books of her short stories I've read, this one is one of my favorite ones.
Alice Munro not only writes extraordinarily well but has an acute ability to describe the most diverse characters in a way the reader can get into their souls. She relates to human strengths and weaknesses, choices, and circumstances with no prejudicial judgement. To all those able to immerse themselves into the beauty of reading, I highly recommend this book.
My favourite story from this collection is "Dimensions" - a very chilling tale of dealing with a tragic personal loss. As a mother myself I found it heartbreaking to read and yet somehow uplifting as well. There is light at the end of every tunnel although maybe the light has a different quality than before entering the tunnel.
I heartily recommend this book.
The last story was different, in that it presented historical characters who were deeply interested in things of some import, and worked hard to make progress toward goals that they thought significant. This probably reflects the source of the story in the stories of historical mathematicians.