ebookclassics

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

munro

I chose Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage as my first book for the Summer of the Canadian Short Story event hosted by WriteReads. Recent Nobel Prize in Literature winner and celebrated author, Alice Munro, seemed an obvious must-read. I had an inkling of what some of the stories were about because of movies like Away From Her and Hateship, Loveship, but this is the first time I’ve read anything by her.

THE BOOK
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage is a collection nine stories that explores the complexity of relationships; such as between spouses, lovers, friends, siblings and within families. Probably the best known story is The Bear Came Over the Mountain which was published in The New Yorker magazine twice (1999 and 2013) and adapted into the film Away From Her.

THE GOOD
Alice Munro’s portrayal of women and men (mostly women) tangled up in conflicting feelings as they navigate their relationships is timeless. She captures the challenges of everyday people dealing with class, debt, family, sex, adultery, illness, death and new beginnings, with all the raw emotion that accompanies these trials of life.

THE BAD
As interesting as the stories are in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, I often had a sense of déjà vu, as some stories seemed interchangeable, with characters, settings and themes similar to a story elsewhere in the collection. I realize that Alice Munro is writing what she knows and wants to talk about, but I couldn’t help but notice the repetition.

CONCLUSION
Reading Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage has left me wondering if the short story format is for me. I got so immersed in the lives and emotions of Munro’s characters, I sometimes felt left hanging when the story ended and I hadn’t been able to penetrate the deeper meaning of what the character(s) had experienced. The stories I liked better were the ones that had some significant conclusion. Overall, I think this collection was a great introduction to Alice Munro’s writing. I certainly will be thinking about these stories for years to come.

3.5/5 Stars

Do you prefer short stories or novels? What Canadian short story collection should I read next?

Advertisements

19 comments on “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage by Alice Munro

  1. Cecilia
    July 16, 2014

    This is the Alice Munro collection I wanted to get my hands on, and your review is very helpful. I actually got a free book from the library yesterday for completing a summer reading program and I chose Munro’s Too Much Happiness. I love the concept of short stories but I gravitate toward novels more frequently. Right now my favorite short story writer is Jhumpa Lahiri. Her stories are incredibly powerful.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 17, 2014

      I think I also gravitate towards novels because I like getting to know characters and seeing how the author will lay out the story. What is your favourite Jhumpa Lahiri short story?

      Like

      • Cecilia
        July 17, 2014

        I’ve only read her collection Interpreter of Maladies so far and loved it. I’ve read all her novels, and was surprised to find myself actually feeling more compelled by her short stories. The fact that her 10-page stories moved me more than her 300 page novels made me realize that she must really be a master of the short story. That is just my opinion though!

        Like

        • ebookclassics
          July 17, 2014

          Agreed! If her short stories have such a powerful affect on you, I think she must be a talented short story writer.

          Like

    • Naomi
      July 20, 2014

      Too Much Happiness is a good one, too! And, I love the title. In fact, I love most of her titles. 🙂

      Like

      • ebookclassics
        July 22, 2014

        They are good titles! I also like “Dear Life”. So simple and yet full of meaning.

        Like

  2. I feel the same way when reading Alice Munro’s short stories, you become so involved in the lives of the characters that when it’s over you’re disappointed.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 17, 2014

      Disappointment is a great way of describing how I felt, but I still appreciate that may have been the way Alice Munro wanted to end the story. Do you have a favourite short story of hers?

      Like

  3. Pingback: Blogger Diaries #4 | ebookclassics

  4. Carolyn O
    July 17, 2014

    I read Dear Life earlier this year (loved it so much), and I’ve been wondering which of her books to pick up next — I think this might be the one. Thank you!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 18, 2014

      I hope you do get the chance to read it soon. I look forward to hearing what you think.

      Like

  5. Priya
    July 17, 2014

    I’ve been reading Munro’s Too Much Happiness over a long time now; I know perfectly well that feeling that the endings leave you with, I guess, but reading her in small doses does help. My favourite story by her is Dimensions – the first I read, maybe because she was still fully new to me!
    The only Canadian author I can think of off the top of my head us Indian born Rohinton Mistry – great writer, though I have no clue if he writes short stories..

    Like

  6. ebookclassics
    July 18, 2014

    Reading in small doses is a good strategy, I never thought of that. I looked it up and Rohinton Mistry does have several short story collections. Thank you for the suggestion!

    Like

  7. heavenali
    July 19, 2014

    I have come to love short stories in the last few years. Although there was a time when I really couldn’t be bothered with them. Surprisingly though I have only read one volume of Alice Munro although I do have her most recent collection Dear Life tbr.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 22, 2014

      I haven’t been really bothered with short stories myself and now I realize I’ve been missing out on a whole other world.

      Like

  8. DoingDewey
    July 19, 2014

    I’ve heard such great things about Munro but haven’t read any of her books yet. This sounds like it could be a good place to start!

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 22, 2014

      I chose “Hateship” because it is supposed to be a good starting point if you haven’t read Munro, although it sounds like you can’t go wrong with any of her short story collections.

      Like

  9. Naomi
    July 20, 2014

    I have always felt the same way about novels and short stories. It’s harder to invest in a story when you know it will be over soon. I do love Alice Munro, though. I think I read this one last year. Sometimes I find short stories are good when I need to go to bed, but I want to read first. If I read one short story, there will be no need to read “just one more chapter”. Also, you might be more likely to enjoy linked stories, like the Atwood book I read.

    Like

    • ebookclassics
      July 22, 2014

      I do love the idea of linked short stories. I had the misconception that you wouldn’t have to concentrate as hard on a short story, but I found a few of the stories I read in this collection required that I stop and think or reread a paragraph. I would think about what happened in the story or go back to it.

      Like

Thoughts? Comments?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Information

This entry was posted on July 16, 2014 by in Headlines and tagged , .

Now reading

and …

and …

%d bloggers like this: