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Family Furnishings (Storycuts) [Kindle Edition]

Alice Munro

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“What is special about Munro’s lifelong use and reuse of ‘family furnishings’ and ‘unremarkable local landscape’? Partly it is her exceptionally thorough and dedicated mining of the same ingredients, which endlessly come up rich and fresh, seem never to be used up, and however artfully shaped, feel ‘real.’ . . . And there’s the heart of the magic:  the voice of the speakers, and the voice of the narrator who has them speak. From the start, Munro has been brilliant at this, but in the late stories she  has developed an extraordinary elastic fluency, a way of moving without any apparent effort between vividly distinctive local voices, and the sense of someone talking to themselves, or repeating a tale, and something more resonant and contemplative. . . . In the simplest of words, and with the greatest of power, she makes us see and hear an ‘unremarkable’ scene we will never forget.”—Hermione Lee, The New York Review of Books
“A fitting, final reminder of what a stunning, subtle, and sympathetic explorer of the heart Munro is.”—The Denver Post
“A writer who slowly fashioned a house of fiction large enough for both a room of her own and all of her family furnishings—ensuring that she herself had space to maneuver while others still had plenty of space to stretch out and live. Those others include us, her very lucky readers.”—Mike Fischer, The Philadelphia Inquirer

“What a stunning, subtle and sympathetic explorer of the heart Munro is.”—Ron Hansen, The Washington Post
“Munro may have arrived at the end of her career, but her stories keep changing as works of art tend to do . . . Even if you’ve read the stories in Family Furnishings before, they still spring surprises large and small. . . . Because Munro’s people often act unpredictably—they wind up doing things they hadn’t known they were going to do and startle themselves—the stories, even on repeated readings retain their original suspense, their sense that anything can happen.”—Terrence Rafferty, The New York Times Book Review
“There is simply not a better writer of short fiction alive . . . Alice Munro may have written only short stories, but in each is the mystery of life, the questions of existence, where the answers are rarely answered cleanly.”—Tod Goldberg, Las Vegas Weekly
“Munro’s stories are remarkable for their evocation of places and the people who live there, for ambiguities, their ellipses, and their deftness. Her prose is lucid: ranging from delicacy to forthright attack, sometimes witty, ironic.”—Claire Hopley, The Washington Times
“Generations to come will relish and study Family Furnishings for clues to the fine craft and mysterious wizardry that make Munro’s stories work. It’s a fitting companion to her Selected Stories (1968-1994)—a superb introduction for those new to her work, and a reminder to longtime fans that Munro is a writer to be cherished.”—Jane Ciabattari, NPR
“It is no exaggeration to state that Munro’s short stories are among the finest that have ever been written. . . . She deserves her moment in the sun especially to honor how consistently excellent her work has been—she’s that rare writer who is able to match her early career achievements and even top them in this selection drawn from her most recent six story collections.”—Jenny Shank, The Dallas Morning News
“An absolute treasure . . . There is exhilarating language chronicling frighteningly acute forays into the very human need for links to each other. More than anything, there is always Munro’s uncanny ability to make the most horrific moments of the most irrational dreams seem desperately and decidedly human.”—Steven Whitton, The Anniston Star
“Nobel prize winner Munro’s literary genius for the short story form has been widely deemed incomparable. The Canadian writer captures those small moments that reverberate through ordinary lives in meticulous prose. Her economy in words fashions a language that pierces the heart.” –The Daily News
“A top-shelf collection by Canadian Nobelist Munro, perhaps the best writer of short stories in English today. These economical, expertly told stories [are] near peerless, modern literary fiction at its very best.”—Kirkus starred review
“This extraordinary collection encompasses 24 short stories . . . There is something deeply satisfying about finishing one story and knowing that there are many more to savor. It is particularly illuminating to read the stories in the context of an insightful introduction by Jane Smiley . . . A companion volume to Selected Stories (1968-1994), this most recent effort returns to familiar territory for the Ontario native, but through the nuance and generosity with which she draws each character, feels vivid and fresh at every turn.”—Molly Antopol, San Francisco Chronicle
“If there’s literary pleasure greater than reading Alice Munro, it must be rereading Alice Munro.” —Michael Upchurch, The Seattle Times
“[A] deep and constantly surprising collection. [We tend sometimes] to see stories, and especially stories written by women, as somehow peripheral, non-essential, when they are, in fact, the only thing we have. This is the primary faith of Munro’s writing, that these lives, these interactions—often domestic, and only occasionally dramatic in the broadest sense—matter with the weight of life and death.”––David Ulin, The Los Angeles Times
“A blue-ribbon collection now joining her previous Selected Stories in presenting arguably the best of the sterling fiction this personally and professionally unpretentious Canadian has contributed to the world . . . In reading these stories—or rereading them, as will be the case for most of us—what is refreshingly obvious is that Munro has retained all the distinctive characteristics and qualities that set her fiction apart from the outset, including her apparently effortless but actually word-perfect style, her use of family history to inform the contemporary domestic situations she so vividly employs in her stories , the quotidian nature of her characters and their plights (which ultimately gives her characters their wide appeal), and the purposeful elimination of nonessential detail to permit a novel’s worth of substance to comfortably fit into a short story’s confined space.”—Brad Hooper, Booklist starred review

Über das Produkt

A story about what can pass us by when we harden ourselves to the past and the people that populate it.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 263 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 40 Seiten
  • Verlag: Vintage Digital (17. November 2011)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ASIN: B0068RA98M
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Aktiviert
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Aktiviert
  • Verbesserter Schriftsatz: Aktiviert
  • Amazon Bestseller-Rang: #284.138 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop (Siehe Top 100 Bezahlt in Kindle-Shop)

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5.0 von 5 Sternen Wonderful 15. September 2014
Von Robert C. ross - Veröffentlicht auf
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I've been lucky enough to read three previous collections of Munro's stories -- some of the characters populate my mind while I try to think of something important to write about this great story teller.

This collection is marvelous -- I spent six days treasuring them, reading some of them aloud, re-reading many passages just to be sure I wasn't missing some of the nuances. Southern Ontario must be a wonderful place if so many interesting people live there -- or is it just Alice Munro herself?

Her story about a husband trying to find ways to make his wife happy as dementia took hold resonated strongly; it captured exactly my thinking as I hung a bird feeder 20 feet above the ground during my wife's final illness. It could have been me.

By all means, try at least one of Munro's stories, from this collection or one of the earlier collections. Her voice is so clear, so honest, so real -- even if you don't care for that story, you will read the work of a great master.

Robert C. Ross
September 2014
19 von 21 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen This Is a True Literary Event 30. September 2014
Von M. JEFFREY MCMAHON - Veröffentlicht auf
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My three favorite North American short story writers are John Cheever, Tobias Wolff, and Alice Munro. Of the three, Munro’s stories are a bigger challenge. Often her plot points are elliptical. She slowly and leisurely lets her genius unfold her sprawling stories, often close to 40 pages long, piece by piece, so that her style can present a challenge to one’s patience. But the patience pays off because more than Cheever and Wolff, Munro has this brilliant and rare gift to make a 30-40-page short story feel as if you’ve immersed yourself in a life with a sense of completeness that you could only imagine with a 400-page novel.

If you’re new to Munro, you might open this 600-page book and begin with some of her more accessible stories first:

“My Mother’s Dream”: An unusual point of view of a girl thinking back to her being a baby and almost dying after her father dies and family and friends converge on the grieving mother. It’s almost as if the first-person narrator, clearly too young as an infant to grasp the details of this period, gleans what she knows from family and friends when she gets into her teens.

“Family Furnishings”: A story about social class and the “city” vs. the “country,” this tale is about a larger than life character, the narrator’s older cousin Alfrida, who lives in the big city where she creates a squeaky-clean person as an advice columnist. The disparity between her newspaper persona and her gimlet-eyed cynical self is not only funny but is central to the story’s theme about the loss of innocence.

“The Bear Came Over the Mountain”: A story of a professor and his wife who succumbs to dementia and the complex, knotty love they have for each other even after the wife is institutionalized.

“Runaway”: Perhaps my favorite Munro story, this is about a mother who loses the connection with her daughter, a convert to a religious cult.

“Dimension”: Perhaps the most horrifying of all the stories as it deals with a brutal domestic crime, this story addresses something terrifying in the male psyche as it looks at the aftermath of a mother who has survived an unspeakable act of violence done to her family. Like the story “Runaway,” it is a masterpiece and gives you the sense of having read a novel in just 35 pages or so.

This book belongs in the literary Hall of Fame, and if you don’t have them yet, you’ll want to add John Cheever’s collected stories and Tobias Wolff’s collected stories Our Story Begins to your shelf.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen A wonderful collection from the best short story writer of our time 7. Oktober 2014
Von Jill I. Shtulman - Veröffentlicht auf
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Like many other readers, I have always been in awe of Alice Munro, whose short stories are just so well-crafted that each of them sparkles like a little gem.

In collection after collection, her strength has always been taking ordinary human lives and extricating that one moment of revelation. In just a few beautifully written sentences, she’s able to define a person in a totally original way.

Take this description, from The Bear Came Over The Mountain: “Getting close to Marian would present a different problem. It would be like biting into a litchi nut. The flesh with its oddly artificial allure, its chemical taste and perfume, shallow over the extensive seed, the stone.”

Now this Nobel Laureate has assembled some of her most memorable stories from 1995-2014, with a forward from Jane Smiley. And it gives this reader yet one more reason to rejoice. In the words of Ms. Smiley, “Munro…has made of the short story something new, using precision of language and complexity of emotion to cut out the relaxed parts of the novel and focus on the essence of transformation.”

These are stories to savor, brimming with life and recreating the definition of what a short story is all about. Sometimes, she courageously turns the spotlight on her own life: The View from Castle Rock, for example, finds her mining her family history and meshing imagination and fact…the eponymous Family Furnishings reveals a young writer who steals the poignant, personal and painful history of an eccentric aunt to further her craft.

Nor is she afraid to mine emotions: the lengths that a husband will go to give his memory-impaired wife a gift (and, in ways, an apology for his philandering) in The Bear Came Over The Mountain…the cruel alliances of young girls in the drowning of a disabled child in the haunting Child’s Play…the unbreakable connection between Doree and her “criminally insane” husband who murders their children because he is the only one who can truly relate to what has been lost.

I loved the opportunity to revisit old favorites and discovered ones that have eluded me. This is an important and marvelous book that should be “must reading” for any literary reader.
6 von 7 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen Good reading; another nice compendium for Munroe 27. September 2014
Von Epilady - Veröffentlicht auf
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Alice Munro is attributed with revolutionizing the architecture of short stories. This collection, Family Furnishings, is a compilation of 25 of her arguably best works, albeit mostly different from her other short story compilations (there are some overlaps). It's a large tome, coming in over 600 pages, but because of the nature of the book (short stories), it's easy to pick up and put down. Stories run between 30-40 pages, so they are not for a very quick read, but are long enough to really create complex characters.

Many, but not all, of the stories are set in her home country of Canada, in the Ontario province. And they range the gamut from being sweet and touching to heart-rending. I find that the stories that reflect my personal life experience are the ones that I am most drawn to - Munro has a way of capturing the essence of the emotions that remain with you after you've read the story. Munro is amazingly talented at finding people's foibles and making them relatable, even characters the reader may not particularly like.

Munro's style of writing may not be for everyone. She does tend to flash forward and back, which some readers may find disconcerting in a short story. However, her prose is detailed and lovely. She often has very strong female characters, which is a nice change from much of contemporary fiction. Recommend.
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5.0 von 5 Sternen Family Furnishings 28. Oktober 2014
Von Brendan Moody - Veröffentlicht auf
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There are writers whose genius is easy to describe, and there are writers like Alice Munro. There's nothing flashy about her short stories: no density or complexity of plot, no genre elements or post-modern structural tricks, very little humor. The prose has few superficially distinctive characteristics. And yet her work is, once you learn to read it, every bit as involving as fiction with a more obvious "hook," and this hefty selection of stories from the second half of her career (companion to an earlier volume, Selected Stories: 1968-1994) is a fine introduction that will leave many readers, as it left me, wanting more.

I refer to learning to read Munro's stories. This may make them sound like work, but that's not really the issue. It's just that Munro is a subtle enough writer that the depth of her stories is easy to miss if you're used to literary fiction that hammers its themes home, to the slice-of-life story that has marinated in its own meaning. The way Munro manipulates time, moving forward and backward in the lives of her characters, may seem arbitrary, and her endings can inspire the kind of bewilderment contemporary short stories often produces in those used to more plot-driven fiction. The focus on the details of daily life and of the natural world can feel stifling.

Readers who find themselves experiencing such frustration with the collection's early stories might wish to jump ahead to the title story, or "Post and Beam," or "Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage." These are, to my mind, some of the finest stories in the selection, and their endings provide a more graspable thematic tying-off than others. You can see, then, how Munro's chronological jumps emphasize the enduring power of terrible experiences, and the more terrible fact that we learn to live with them. You recognize that the focus on quotidian details is at once a reflection of their importance in our lives and a way of emphasizing the stark reality of the larger forces that intrude upon us at unguessable intervals. Family dynamics are central to these stories, perhaps because it is with family that we feel most acutely the tensions among who we pretend to be, who we want to be, and who we actually are. Many of Munro's stories have dark or bleak undercurrents, not because hers is a grim imagination but because the world she so faithfully records is a cruel one.

Part of the pleasure of reading a career-spanning (or half-spanning) volume is recognizing amid the scope of a writer's vision recurring themes and motifs, the way real life is worked and reworked into fiction. In the present case that process is more visible than most, as this selection includes several of the more explicitly autobiographical stories collected in The View from Castle Rock. Reading these stories one observes not only the origins of some of Munro's character types (the sickly mother, the bright, ambitious, rather callous young woman) but the deep and natural realism of her voice and style: there is no sense that these stories are more realistic, more "true-to-life," than the purely fictional ones.

Indeed, if I had to reduce Munro to the kind of blurb that could be printed on a book cover, I would say that she is a supremely gifted realist. This is no small praise, especially as I'm not a particular admirer of realism in fiction. It seems to me that apt description of the human condition usually involves a layer of artifice, a conscious structuring to highlight the meaning of the particular aspects one has drawn forth from the bubbling cauldron of our lives. But Munro needs no such devices. She has the eye and the voice of the true realist, which focus not on the telling detail and the apt metaphor but on the thing itself, simply and accurately described. The title story for this selection is well chosen; its dual reference, to the meticulously described dwellings and social behaviors of an extended family, and to their complicated emotional dynamics, captures the way Munro's realism is no mere cataloging, but a profound wisdom about the relationship between environment and character. These unforgettable stories are, in every sense of the phrase, richly furnished, and they more than make clear why Munro is widely considered the greatest short fiction writer of our time..
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