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review 2013-10-13 17:45
Review: How I Met My Husband, by Alice Munro
The Longman Anthology of Short Fiction, Compact Edition: Stories and Authors in Context - Dana Gioia,R.S. Gwynn

"I didn't figure out till years later the extent of what I had been saved from."

 

Alice Munro book sales have been understandably surging following her Nobel Prize win. Previously, I've only had exposure to one of her works, titled Girls and Boys, which I personally wasn't a huge fan of.

 

There were a lot of similarities between Girls and Boys and How I Met My Husband. Both have naive female main characters, and both explore their everyday lives. However, How I Met My Husband deals with a young girl's first exposures to romance. Munro skilfully focuses the story (with the help of the title), only to unexpectedly shift it at the end. For me, Munro's skill is not in her ability to make the reader connect to the characters, or to feel the connections between the characters. Indeed, I didn't particularly like Edie, the main character of How I Met My Husband, and I couldn't feel a romantic connection between she and Chris, or

with Carmichael at the end, either. "I went out with him for two years and he asked me to marry him, and we were engaged a year more while I got my things together, and then we did marry" isn't a particularly romantic description.

(spoiler show)

However, it's in her ability to, with wide brushstrokes, capture a feeling that can't be pinpointed or identified, but can be gently gathered and observed, that displays her true talent.

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