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The Progress of Love

By (author) Alice Munro
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Vintage Publishing, London, United Kingdom
Imprint: Chatto & Windus
Published: 22nd Jan 1987
Dimensions: w 140mm h 220mm
Weight: 632g
ISBN-10: 0701131616
ISBN-13: 9780701131616
Barcode No: 9780701131616

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Kirkus UK
Reading these 11 spellbinding stories is like having a floodlight switched on. They deal with small town and rural communities where the rhythm of life may be simple but emotions run strong and deep. Sexual, parental, and Platonic love are portrayed with unsentimental clarity and skill. The story 'Miles City, Montana', 11 pages long, tells of a death by drowning, witnessed by the narrator as a child; and the near death by drowning of the adult narrator's daughter. It analyses the quality of memory, the hypocrisy of marriage, the lies we tell ourselves to sustain self-belief and the yawning disparity between children's trust and adults' ability to deserve that trust. And that's just a crude diagram of what that story begins to do. Review by Jane Rogers, whose novels include 'Island' (Kirkus UK)
Kirkus US
More splendid examples of Munroe's unusual way with the story: how she seems to write about nothing fixed or stable, to pile on specificity upon dense specificity, then have the story resolve movingly without it having precisely homed. As in her other work, family and friends are the ever-shifting yet tight-margined main element here - and Munro need only throw enough of these people together, intimates in one degree or another, to have her story start its gorgeous meander. In the title story, an aunt's life becomes an obscure paradigm of "love and grudges," elements that define Munro's human galaxy. The next story, "Lichen" - a man's visit to his ex-wife, bringing along his new girlfriend; yet admitting to the motherly but sad ex-wife that he has yet another girl he's interested in - is a brilliant piece of psychological writing: dependency and affection and scorn all intermixed. "Monsieur Les Deux Chapeaux" - the never-ending responsibility of one more "settled" brother for another - is nearly as good; and "White Dump" - an almost plotless story set on vacation (a number of the stories here are) - tests feelings as a tongue does a tooth that's just about to hurt. Munro's fecklessness serves her less well in others; even with their masterful detail-accumulations, they seem a little too much the laid-back same. Yet everything here - strong and less so - still speaks of a writer who does something of her own and recognizably different with short fiction. (Kirkus Reviews)