Moving, astute with a subtleness that belies the expert analysis of the human condition.
Too Much Happiness
Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers—the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.
In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy’s disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky—a late-nineteenth-century Russian émigré and mathematician—on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.
With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.
Too Much Happiness is a compelling, provocative—even daring—collection.
These short stories will do many things; they will move you, they will make you think and re think your own assumptions and beliefs and in some you will find optimism and some you will find human failings subtly revealed in what at first appears to be a simple recounting of events or life’s history. These short stories will surprise you.
In particular I thought the first story, Dimensions was a powerful and emotive read with a bleakness that tugged at my heart. I did however think that the villain in the piece was let off too lightly by this author – an insanity verdict to my mind excused the behaviour; the crime was inexcusable. I did however enjoy the ending, the small ray of optimism that shone through.
Something that did indeed surprise me was Child’s Play, what a revelation! (No spoilers here, you need to buy the book).
Alice Munro writes with an ease and a simplicity that belies the deep psychological understanding she has of the human condition; of the foibles and failings that make us human. These short stories will make you think, will open your eyes.