Too Much Happiness: Stories
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Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers—the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.
With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories about the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.
In the first story a young wife and mother, suffering from the unbearable pain of losing her three children, gains solace from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other tales uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and, in the long title story, the yearnings of a nineteenth-century female mathematician.
not think of themselves as Danes, he said, because they thought of themselves as Vikings taken over by the Hanseatic League in the sixteenth century. They had a fierce history, they took captives. Had she ever heard of the wicked Earl of Bothwell? Some people say he died on Bornholm, though the people of Zealand say he died there. “He murdered the husband of the queen of Scotland and married her himself. But he died in chains. He died insane.” “Mary Queen of Scots,” she said. “So I have heard.”
special thing Joyce loved to see as she was driving home and turning in to their own property. At this time many people, even some of the thatched-roof people, were putting in what were called patio doors—even if like Jon and Joyce they had no patio. These were usually left uncurtained, and the two oblongs of light seemed to be a sign or pledge of comfort, of safety and replenishment. Why this should be so, more than with ordinary windows, Joyce could not say. Perhaps it was that most were meant
their way. Sally has her sip and wishes she could have more. She smiles at Alex to communicate this wish, and maybe the wish that it would be nice to be alone with him. He drinks his champagne, and as if her sip and smile had been enough to soothe him, he starts in on the picnic. She instructs him as to which sandwiches have the mustard he likes and which have the mustard she and Peter like and which are for Kent who likes no mustard at all. While this is going on, Kent manages to slip in behind
made a troubled face. “Who is this C.?” “Her husband.” I was worried that he might ask for the husband’s name, to get in touch with him, but instead he asked for Charlene’s. This woman’s name, he said. “Charlene Sullivan.” It was a wonder that I even remembered the surname. And I was reassured for a moment, because it was a name that sounded Catholic. Of course that meant that it was the husband who could be Catholic. But the priest might conclude that the husband had lapsed, and that would
at the wheel. How did he fly out of the truck and launch himself so elegantly into the air? “Fellow right in front of us,” the driver said to the passengers. He was trying to speak loudly and calmly, but there was a tremor of amazement, something like awe, in his voice. “Just plowed across the road and into the ditch. We’ll be on our way again as soon as we can, and in the meantime please don’t get out of the bus.” As if she had not heard that, or had some special right to be useful, Doree got