Monday, May 24, 2010

Too Much Happiness

The title: Too Much Happiness 
The author: Alice Munro
Publication: McClelland & Stewart, 2009 

Got it from: DC, Xmas 2009

Having never read any Alice Munro stories, and hearing so many great things about this author, I was curious to read her latest acclaimed book. I wasn't sure what to expect, but this is probably my most different reading experience of the past five years.

Munro's writing is technically brilliant, and she takes you to places you don't expect. "Dimensions" is the story of a young woman visiting her husband in jail for committing a crime that you don't discover until the end, so repulsive that it makes you visibly uncomfortable. "Wenlock Edge" starts out as a seemingly normal story of a girl and her roommate, only to evolve into something bizarre as the narrator is invited into a dinner party where she is asked to strip naked for an older man and read him stories. I found this story to be the "humorous" one of the bunch and I mean humorous in a weirdly creepy sort of way. "Free Radicals" had me on edge, worried as a killer on the loose dines with a widowed old lady whose home he had broken into. The most interesting story (for me), "Child's Play," deals with two girls and their obsession with a mentally challenged girl decades ago and how fear of the unknown can lead to terrible consequences.

Don't read these stories if you are looking for a light read, where everything is spelled out for you and the endings are happy. I'm going to be honest and say that I didn't like this book. It wasn't my cup of tea at all, but I do appreciated that it made me think and I still can't figure out all the hidden symbolism and meaning in these stories. My only suggestion is that if you do read this book, it is with an open mind and no expectations.

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