Reviews for Selected Stories


Library Journal Reviews 1996 June
Little gems from one of Canada's best writers, drawn from seven collections. Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews

----------------------
Library Journal Reviews 1996 October
The collected stories of Canadian author Munro, whose works often appear in The New Yorker, would probably fill several tomes, but this thoughtful selection will satisfy the choosiest readers. From the little girl in "Walker Brothers Cowboy" who dreads her mother's pretentions but loosens up when her down-but-not-out salesman father takes her on walks to Lake Huron; to Miss Marsalles's suffocating piano recitals ("Dance of the Happy Shades") suddenly illuminated when a retarded girl plays real music; to the heroine of "The Albanian Virgin," a Canadian woman who by accident ends up living amidst tribal people outside of Trieste; to "Vandals," a complicated tale of solitude and resentment that closes the book, Munro creates characters and situations that draw one up short. In one brief instant, the laws don't apply, assumptions are smashed, and the reader is left staring giddily down the whirling black hole of the universe. It would have been nice to see these pieces dated so that we could trace Munro's development more easily the pieces at least appear to be in roughly chronological order but this is an important book for serious readers everywhere. Barbara Hoffert, "Library Journal" Copyright 1998 Library Journal Reviews

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1996 August #2
A literature-lover's feast, this phenomenal collection of 28 short stories, selected from seven collections that span three decades, showcases Munro's mastery of the form, her vibrantly evocative prose and her undiluted, incisive vision of human nature. Almost without exception, the tales are set in western Canada, from the small-town and farm life of the Lake Huron region to the cultivated suburbs of Vancouver. Most take place in earlier decades, starting with the Depression era. One of Munro's great gifts is that she renders her settings both palpably specific?like one small town's "maple trees whose roots have cracked and heaved the sidewalk and spread out like crocodiles into the bare yards"?and universally accessible. In the opening story, "Walker Brothers Cowboy," a young girl accompanies her salesman father on his rounds through rural Canada in the 1930s. A surprise visit to one of his old girlfriends reveals his hidden, fun-loving past, and the girl poignantly weighs her mother's disappointments in marrying her father against this old girlfriend's in losing him. "Material" strikes a very different tone: the narrator, the ex-wife of a reasonably well-known contemporary writer and professor, reads a recent short story of his that, to her surprise, affects her deeply (even though she wryly deconstructs his author bio as filled with "half-lies"). Having doubted that he would ever be a good writer, she is suddenly envious that he can take a lifetime of memories?mere "useless baggage" for her?and create something from them, while she sacrificed her writing ambitions to deal with the mundanities of life. Munro's stories are always trenchant, finely modulated and truly brilliant meditations on peoples' complexities and the emotions they contend with?sometimes ruefully, sometimes in pain, but most often with stoic dignity. 40,000 first printing. (Oct.) Copyright 1996 Cahners Business Information.

----------------------
Publishers Weekly Reviews 1997 September #5
In a starred review, PW called this selection of 28 stories spanning 7 collections "a literature lover's feast." (Nov.) Copyright 1998 Publishers Weekly Reviews

----------------------