Thursday, April 17, 2014

Review - Too Much Happiness by: Alice Munro

Title: Too Much Happiness
Author: Alice Munro
Publisher: Knopf
Pages: 304
Format: Turkish translation paperback
Source: Received from Turkish publisher for review


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 √©migr√© 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.

My thoughts: 

After reading Too Much Happiness, I understood why Alice Munro has received so many awards, including the Nobel Prize in 2013. I should admit from the beginning that she entered my radar with her latest award, and on our first date she made me sad, got me mad, made me think, and made me question myself and all those around me. 

Munro tells us about the lives of different women, and it becomes obvious right away that she's an amazing observer. Not only an observer of actions, either; also an observer of emotions. Doree, for example, is someone who lets her husband psychologically pressure her and still visits him at jail. In another story, a young woman visits an older guy at his home and reads to him naked. In another one there's murder, and then a different one focuses on a woman who won't stop brestfeeding her baby even though the baby's past 5 months.

Most of them are women who stand up to authority, to public approval, women who do as they wish. Munro puts them in situations that we might come along every day as well as situations we can't even imagine. And while doing so, she pulls out the details that we wouldn't have noticed otherwise. I'm rather excited that I have at least one more Munro book to read this year.
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