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Sanne

Sanne

I like to read classics, historical fiction and world lit. Oh and I love short stories.

Too Much Happiness (Alice Munro)

Too Much Happiness - Alice Munro

Well over a year ago I heard the name Alice Munro for the first time. Immediately followed by what the literary world seemingly unanimous thinks about her: Someone who's said to be the best living writer today. Someone who's a "writer's writer" - as if she's some well guarded incrowd knowledge which the public at large is not supposed to know about. Someone who is also claimed to be the favorite author of just about anyone who made a name for him/herself in the literary world. There're falling over eachother to say so, as if you have to say to love Munro, else your literary reputation is gone.

I wanted to know what the fuss was about. I bought this collection over a year ago, but it stayed untouched on my shelf until last week. Fiction that is characterized as "describing the human condition" isn't something I will pick up easily. That just sounds too grand to start on a saturday afternoon. (and I might have been a bit sceptical about such a pretentious claim).

Last week I put it in my bag, so I'd have something to read on the train, forgetting that this was supposed to be about the "human condition". I haven't been able to put this collection of short stories down. I found Munro every bit as amazing as they make her out to be. Unpretentious stories, naturally flowing from scene to scene, wonderful descriptions of rural life in Ontario, and yes - perhaps these stories deal with was is called the "human condition". Though what I enjoyed most about my first encounter (it will certainly not be the last!) with Munro's stories is her evident craftsmanship. She creates her stories with amazing skill. If you're a fan of short stories, get your hands on one of her collections. You will not be disappointed.

This particular collection holds 10 short stories, of which the title story is a bit different than the rest. The other 9 stories are all set in rural Ontario, while Too Much Happiness is not only the longest of them all, but also the life story of Sophia Kovalevsky, a 19th century Russian mathematician and quite an extraordinary woman. My personal favorites in this collection were Child's Play and Fiction.