A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968-1994 (Vintage International)
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A New York Times Editors’ Choice Book
Spanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968–1994, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever.
A traveling salesman during the Depression takes his children with him on an impromptu visit to a former girlfriend. A poor girl steels herself to marry a rich fiancé she can’t quite manage to love. An abandoned woman tries to choose between the opposing pleasures of seduction and solitude. To read these stories is to succumb to the spell of a true narrative sorcerer, a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.
them—that broad, strong, speckled old woman, with a crown of yellowish-white braids, whose old jackets and sweaters and skirts had some of the smell of the house, whose greeting was calmly affectionate though slightly puzzled. Was she surprised that they had got here so soon, that the children had grown, that Laurence was suddenly so boisterous, that Isabel looked so slim and youthful? Did she know how they’d been joking about her in the car? “Maybe,” said Laurence discouragingly. “In those old
of all that by picturing things and wondering for instance if you are still there in the Library. If you are the one I mean, you are about of medium size or perhaps not quite, with light brownish hair. You came a few months before it was time for me to go in the Army following on Miss Tamblyn who had been there since I first became a user aged nine or ten. In her time the books were pretty much every which way, and it was as much as your life was worth to ask her for the least help or anything
they were not prepared to take the same treatment today. During the war, they had got used to the good wages and to being always in demand. They never thought of the glut of labor the soldiers had created when they came home, never thought about how a business like this was kept going by luck and ingenuity from one year to the next, even from one season to the next. They didn’t like changes—they were not happy about the switch now to player pianos, which Arthur believed were the hope of the
matings, though my mother would certainly have said it was cruel, cruel and indecent, to tease an old maid about men. In my father’s family of course it was what she was always teased about, what else was there? And the heavier and coarser and more impossible she became, the more she would be teased. A bad thing in that family was to have them say you were sensitive, as they did of my mother. All the aunts and cousins and uncles had grown tremendously hardened to any sort of personal cruelty,
He had a tobacco and candy store on the Square and wore a fresh collar every day. Et was prepared to find that some metamorphosis had taken place, as in the background, but it was not so. Char, bending over the starch basin, silent and bad-humored (she hated washday, the heat and steam and flapping sheets and chugging commotion of the machine—in fact, she was not fond of any kind of housework), showed in her real face the same almost disdainful harmony as in the photograph. This made Et