Maybe I was distracted while reading this collection of short stories by Canadian author Alice Monro, but I just couldn’t get my teeth into it. Possibly that is part of the short story genre?
Monro writes beautifully, and some of the stories will stay with me for a while, but her style is such that the end isn’t really the end. There’s a lot left to the imagination, some guessing going on, and you’re left with more to think about. Preferably, I like a story to have an absolute ending, a resolution, but maybe that’s something I need to work on, as opposed to saying it’s a fault in her style, because she’s a very popular writer.
Something sinister lies behind almost every story in the collection. Something happens, or is hinted at happening, that is unsettling. The title story is about a death that for years goes unexplained, and it slowly comes to light that some of the nice people of the town are not all that nice after all. For the main character to still love, and want to be involved with, the murderer was a mystery to me. It takes all kinds in this world, I know.
Of all the stories, I enjoyed “The Children Stay” the most. It was beautifully told, about a woman’s life going in a direction no one expected, not even her. The ending left a melancholy, but satisfied, feeling.
Maybe towards the end of the year, I’ll try reading another collection of Monro’s works. The love of a good woman has definitely contributed to my mental fitness, as the outcomes were challenging. But for now, I’m going to search out stories that have a beginning, a middle, and a definite end.