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Niagara on the Lake, Ontario, Canada
My virtue is that I say what I think, my vice that what I think doesn't amount to much.

Friday, October 04, 2013

Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

You may think I've given up on reading books and indeed I do read far fewer than I did before the internet captured me. Most of my time is now spent reading about government prorogations/shutdowns,  animals that have been rescued from abusive situations and have been saved by love, looking at images of art created from household detritus and criticizing people's selfies on FaceBook. Despite all that frantic activity I managed to reread Alice Munro's short story collection Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage. I found these understated tales of the lives of small town Canadian women a generation ago as compelling now as I did when I first read the collection a decade ago.
The title story is about Edith and Sabitha, two bored young girls who decide to play a cruel trick on the unsophisticated housekeeper of Sabitha's family. The girls forge a series of love letters to the housekeeper, Johanna, who is flattered because she believes they are being sent to her by Sabitha's father who is a bit of a rake.  She seizes what she perceives to be an opportunity for happiness and sets off to Saskatchewan to surprise him. Lives change and the unexpected ending turns the story on its head.
These nine stories are beautifully written in Munro's simplistic and seemingly effortless style. I'm keeping it at my bedside. I don't want to wait a decade to return to it again.

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