Read by Kymberly Dakin. Simultaneous with the Knopf hardcover. Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
Nothing is new in Munro's latest collection, which is to say that the author continues to perfect her virtuosic formula in these eight short stories, several of which previously appeared in the New Yorker. While her style typifies the traditionally realistic, often domestic genre of that magazine, Munro's stories are also global, bighearted and warm. In the title story, a housekeeper tries to leave her emotionally abusive husband, entangling her employer in the process. Three interconnected stories-"Chance," "Soon" and "Silence"-follow a schoolteacher as she falls for an older man, returns as a young mother to visit her ailing parents on their farm and much later tries to "rescue" her daughter from a religious cult. In "Tricks," a lonely nurse on a day trip encounters a man from Montenegro and vows to return to his clock shop one year later to resume their affair. In deliberate prose, Munro captures their fleeting moment of passion on a train platform: "This talk felt more and more like an agreed-upon subterfuge, like a conventional screen for what was becoming more inevitable all the time, more necessary, between them." Munro's characters are hopeful and proud as they face both the betrayals and gestures of kindness that animate their relationships. One never knows quite where a Munro story will end, only that it will leave an incandescent trail of psychological insight. Agent, William Morris. 100,000 first printing. (Nov. 14) Copyright 2004 Reed Business Information.
ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES BOOK REVIEW 10 BEST BOOKS OF THE YEAR: "Her 11th collection of short stories about people, often women living in rural Ontario, whose vivid, unremarkable lives are rendered with almost Tolstoyan resonance." "In a word, magnificent." -"Kirkus," starred review "Dazzling...What's astonishing about Munro's work is how simultaneously unsparing and forgiving it is, how willing she is to say things no one else will admit out loud. Munro hasn't mellowed with maturity. She only grows sharper with time." -Francine Prose, "More" "Global, bighearted, and warm...Munro's characters are hopeful and proud as they face both the betrayals and gestures of kindness that animate their relationships. One never knows quite where a Munro story will end, only that it will leave an incandescent trail of psychological insight." -"Publisher's Weekly," starred review "Haunting...[Munro's] sheer perception and eloquence make her one of the foremost contemporary practitioners of the short story in English...Remarkable." -"Booklist," starred review "New Munro stories: who could ask for anything more?" -"Library Journal" "A sensitive and deeply insightful writer, Munro renders hauntingly realistic characters with an unflinching eye." -"Elle" Magazine Reader's Prize "Another carefully calibrated collection about [Munro's] favorite themes: unfaithful women, fraying marriages, long-standing deceptions....Simply breathtaking." -Fort Worth "Star Telegram" "["Runaway" is] quintessential Munro at top form...Throughout the work Munro captures the defining human struggle to make sense of a capricious or shapeless reality, to reach 'thediscovery that leaves everything whole.'" -"Quill & Quire" "The great Alice Munro proves again why short-story writers bow down to her." -"Vanity Fair" "Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America...."Runaway" is a marvel...."Runaway" is so good that I don't want to talk about it here. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it...Which leaves me with the simple instruction that I began with: Read Munro! Read Munro!" -Jonathan Franzen, on the cover of "The New York Times Book Review" "As with so many of Munro's stories, you read to have your premises altered and deepened. Could anything be better?" -Michael Frank, "Los Angeles Times" "In Alice Munro's hands, the smallest moments contain the central truths of a lifetime." -Judith Timson, "Maclean's" "Munro is routinely called one of the finest living writers. You can turn to any of the eight stories in "Runaway" and see why...Let's be clear about one thing here: this is a rave." -Richard Lacayo, "People" "[These] eight wonderful stories...seem at first to be about women, but they're about being human-how that condition cradles us, limits us....["Runaway" is] a big dish of Beluga caviar, [sailing] in on a sparkling bed of ice, with a mother-of-pearl spoon. You remember: This is why you eat, read, make love, whatever-to be left silly with admiration and delight." -Carolyn See, "The Washington Post" "In "Runaway," a new collection of stories by one of the greats of the 20th century, Munro writes again about love-romantic love, sexual love, love between parents and children-and how itchanges lives, not always for the better....To Munro, love is always momentous, but never predictable and never without cost." -Polly Shulman, "Newsday" "One after another, these stories, saturated with grieving insight, leave us 'outraged, but warmed from a distance, clear of shame'-with endings that are as satisfyingly appropriate as they are goosebumpingly unforgettable. And "that's" a consummation devoutly to be wished." -Daniel Asa Rose, "New York Observer" "With a faultless ear for poignant detail, Munro presents ordinary lives that disguise larger dramas. She delves deep into human belonging and exile...."Runaway" may very well be the synthesizing work of one of literature's keenest investigators into the human soul." -Maria Fish, "USA Today" "Munro's new collection is again filled with small masterpieces illuminating real life... profound in important ways. -John Marshall, "Seattle Post-Intelligencer" "Beautifully written and startlingly real...Her characters are so real that they walk off the page. I had to close the book after each story, letting the experience sink in." -Ashley Simpson Shires, "Rocky Mountain News" "Superlative...[Munro offers] a wealth of telling detail [and] clear cut, no-nonsense language, ...focusing on the earth-shattering, quietly." -Leonard Gill, "Memphis Flyer" "Munro is wise in the ways of human emotion, and her stories are so rich...that even a tale of less than 50 pages feels as rounded as a novel." -Lee Aitken, "People, "Critic's Choice "Each of the stories in Runaway contains enough lived life to fill a typical novel, and reading them is to become immersed in the concerns and worlds of theirvarious characters...Her women are heroic. They endure the lives produced by their choices and the fates, and they endure in the mind of the reader." -David Thoreen, "Boston Globe"