Thursday, May 18, 2006

A Tale of Two Alices

Iris and I have been reading Alice Through the Looking Glass at night. If I do not fall asleep before her, I go to my room and read some more. My entire adult life, I have gotten Alice Adams and Alice Munro mixed up. They both are published by Knopf and in similiar literary magazines. They were similiar ages, and wrote short stories about domestic dramas. I can remember that I love the work of one and hate the work of the other. But I could not keep them straight.

Unfortunately, A comes before M in the alphabet and the fiction section and I found a posthumous collection of Adams' short stories first. Blech. Don't even bother. It took me only a couple of stories to remember why I hated the stories she wrote. What was her preoccupation with homosexual men about? Can't women live in SF and not obsess about it?

That reminded me to search for Alice Munro. Hey, even Jonathan Franzen loves her work. I read Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage and Runaway in rapid succession. Wow. Comparisons to O'Henry do not do Munro justice. JF is right to say that you shouldn't give away too much about short stories in the review. Short stories are much too succinct to take any of the element of discovery and surprise away from the reader.

But the one you want to read is Alice MUNRO.

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2 comments:

  1. Our book group read Hateship Friendship. I was the only one who liked it. Glad to hear I am not crazy.

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  2. I'll have to check out Alice Munro.

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