I bought this book only because of its title. I didn’t know anything about the author, nothing was written about the story but I figured that a book with such a title deserves to be looked at.
Too much happiness? Can happiness ever be too much?
The book turned out to be a collection of short stories, an average of 25 pages each except the last short story “Too Much Happiness” that is longer.
Alice Munro writing style is captivating. Her description of people and places is so sharp and precise that reading it feels like watching a movie with every single detail in front of your eyes. The narrative structure is a bit puzzling but extremely intelligent, a story can start in the end of things then end in the middle of things.
“I don’t always, or even usually, read stories from beginning to end. I start anywhere and proceed in either direction.” Alice Munro
Some stories were shocking, Alice Munro says it with abruptness. Most of these stories are about life changing moments, in the form of an accident or the intervention of fate. There is murder in three of these stories, two characters have genetic anomalies, there is a near-fatal fall during a family picnic, and a broken ankle sustained during a walk through the bush.
I liked reading these short fictions. A good thing about short stories is that they get to the point quickly which is not the case in a novel. But on the other hand, you don’t ‘commit’ to a cast of characters, when you start feeling comfortable and attached to the story, it brutally ends. I found that the shift between stories is too harsh, you’d still want more of the same story -if you liked it of course, otherwise you’ll be happy to shift.
I still prefer reading a novel. What do you prefer?
PS. Runaway is another collection of short stories by Alice Munro. It’s on my shelf, waiting.