I have just finished reading Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro and before I sat down to blog about it, I did some quick reading to see how Munro describes her own writing style. This is what she said in an interview she did way back in 1996.
“[The experience of reading my work isn’t like having] a road to follow . . . it’s more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while . . . discovering how the rooms and corridors relate to each other. The view is different from every window.”
What a moving and beautiful description that is!
Munro’s stories aren’t easy reads, but the simplicity of her themes and the profound messages that linger long after the last page has been turned are so refreshing and so mind-boggling. The economy with which she uses her words is exquisite and she so tactfully draws her readers in for a sensual treat. Every image, every description and every scene just bursts onto the page. Unlike the works of other writers, her stories don’t ask for praise, they seek your attention.
The power of random events lies at the very heart of this collection of stories. Nearly every exquisite tale hinges on some unexpected calamity or some unanticipated, arbitrary everyday event. Munro plays with a wide array of emotions and her stories oscillate between despair and hope and passion and indifference. Every story is a little slice of life. They make you sit up and scrutinize your own life.
If nothing else, this book is a testimony that sheds light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend the tragedies of everyday life to find true happiness in spite of their circumstances. With clarity and ease, Alice Munro renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that will leave you mesmerized and wanting to turn back the pages and read it all over again!
If you’re out shopping and you happen to pass a book store, run in and grab a copy, you will not be disappointed.