Sunday, November 29, 2009

Too Much Happiness-Alice Munroe

Too Much Happiness
Alice Munroe
Knopf, Nov 2009, $25.95
ISBN: 9780307269768

This great ten story anthology looks deep into relationships with strong characterizations. Nine of the contributions are under forty pages; only the title entry is longer at sixty pages. As always Alice Munroe provides her audience with a profound collection.

In “Dimensions” Doree grieves on the bus for her three children who were murdered by their father so they would not suffer the same misery he suffered of their mother leaving them. "Fiction" stars Christie who tells the stories of her stepmother the music teacher in a published anthology. “Wenlock Edge” college student explains how her roommate fools her into going on a dinner date with her lover. Sally learns how “Deep-Holes” in marriage can become. In "Free Radicals", Nita's friends are there at first while she grieves, but she rejects them; now she is moving on and needs them but none are there for her as they were hurt by her when they needed her. His father stared at his “Face” once after he was born and never looked at his son’s disfigured face again. Young Mr. Crozier is surrounded by “Some Women” while dying from leukemia; but keeps a stiff upper lip so as not to alarm the female retinue who hide their melancholy from him while caring for him. In "Child's Play" Marlene and Charlene become summer camp BFFs, but torture Verna until Marlene muses over "How can you blame a person for the way she was born?" “Wood” centers on Roy who refinishes furniture, but works alone since he and his wife Lea never had no children. He is hurt and all alone apparently dying in The Deserted Forest. “Too Much Happiness” centers on Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevski who has found men limit her choices; still she writes stories in spite of her father insisting she is selling herself and obtains a teaching position in Sweden in spite of her lover living in Paris as she reuses to allow males to limit her.

Harriet Klausner

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