Whispers

by bethanybump

Her name always popped up on the back of books where authors were quoted as being delighted about this latest novel from so-and-so and this one is really her greatest work yet and just wait until you read his second one if you thought his first was an opus, well this, this is something.

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Alice Munro! I have just recently in life happened upon Alice Munro and her short stories and I can’t stop reading. Most of her stories are set in Canada, which is new territory for me as a reader aside from some readings of Robertson Davies. These writings are like whispers. Each one is so rich with subtleties. They don’t scream or shout. The best part of them is finishing one and grasping for more but feeling like, OK, it’s over and it’s alright and I could easily read that again and absorb a whole new meaning. I finish one and I can’t possibly sum it up, for each page is laden with so much feeling it’s like you just soaked yourself in all the little daily undercurrents that humans can’t seem to put into words, the subconscious put down on the page, the sweet realizations we take to the grave.

From Too Much Happiness:

“She was learning, quite late, what many people around her appeared to have known since childhood that life can be perfectly satisfying without major achievements.”

“You think that would have changed things? The answer is of course, and for a while, and never.”

“Something happened here. In your life there are a few places, or maybe only the one place, were something happened, and then there are all the other places”

From Open Secrets:

“When Bea spoke of having had a checkered career, she was taking a sarcastic or disparaging tone that did not reflect what she really felt about her life of love affairs….love affairs were the main content of her life, and she knew that she was not being honest when she belittled them. They were sweet, they were sour; she was happy in them, she was miserable. She knew what it was to wait in a bar for a man who never showed up. To wait for letters, to cry in public, and on the other hand to be pestered by a man she no longer wanted. (She had been obliged to resign from the Light Opera Society because of a fool who directed baritone solos at her). But still she felt the first signal of a love affair like the warmth of the sun on her skin, like music through a doorway, or the moment, as she had often said, when the black-and-white television commercial bursts into color. She did not think that her time had been wasted. She did not think it had been wasted.”

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