Carried Away

Alice Munro

After the semi-disappointment in Dance of the Happy Shades, I picked up this collection and worked my way through it over autumn in between other books. I’d probably read half of these seventeen favorites in their original collections, so reading this was a combination of finding and revisiting. I can now be sure that her earlier stories just don’t grab me as completely.

The re-reading of stories was sometimes the best part: the first instantly nostalgic ones I’d read in “The Beggar Maid,” the devastating “Runaway,” plus I’d forgotten that “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” was the inspiration for the film Away from Her — both are lovely and melancholy but there are definitely some more internal sections that were difficult to communicate in the film.

Some of the new-to-me stories became favorites too: the epic titular “Carried Away” and the way “A Wilderness Station,” composed entirely of letters, feels like a story pieced together from different dusty, likely faded and worn, sources.

Though Munro suggested in 2006 that she would not publish another book, 2009 brought a new collection, Too Much Happiness, which will definitely end up on my to-read list for 2010.