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Runaway - Alice Munro

Paperback Published: January 2006
ISBN: 9780099472254
Number Of Pages: 368

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From the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize and 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature

At the centre of Runaway are three stories connected into one marvellously rich, long narrative, about Juliet - who escapes from teaching at a girls' school into a wild and passionate love match; then returns to the home of her parents, whose life and curious marriage she finally begins to examine; while in the third part of her story, her vanished child turns up caught in the grip of a religious cult. The whole picture emerges only when all the pieces of the jigsaw are finally in place.

The runaway of the disturbing title story is Carla, a congenital 'bolter', who has neighbourly fantasies that take on a frightening afterlife. Elsewhere, a stagestruck girl finds life is more Shakespearean than even she imagines; while Tessa, a young country woman with strange powers cannot foresee what will happen if she makes off with a plausible charmer.

Munro's stories unravel layers of the past, and different versions of the truth: her characters learn that if you look too closely at anything - the past, the truth - it may crumble. Runaway is about the power and betrayals, and twists, of love, about lost children, lost chances. There is pain and desolation beneath the surface, like a needle in the heart, which makes them more powerful and compelling than anything she has written.

Industry Reviews

"Munro is one of my all-time favourite writers. She seems to really see people, like a mind reader who knows what her characters are thinking before they do do, and tells their stories with simplicity and empathy." -- Natasha Lunn * Red *
"Runaway is so good I don't want to talk about it. Quotation can't do the book justice, and neither can synopsis. The way to do it justice is to read it. Read Munro! Read Munro!" -- Jonathan Franzen * New York Times Book Review *
"Millions of words have been spilt in attempts to tell us exactly what it means to be human. In Runaway, Munro performs that very miracle" * The Times *
"A beautiful, echoing collection, and a demonstration of perfected and unflinching form" -- Ali Smith * Scotsman *
"These stories are breathtaking - they leave you winded with their toughness and brilliance" -- Helen Simpson * Guardian *

ISBN: 9780099472254
ISBN-10: 0099472252
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: January 2006
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.1  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.3
Edition Number: 1

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Alice Munro

About the Author


WINNER OF THE 2013 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

Alice Munro was born Alice Laidlaw in 1931, in Wingham, Ontario, Canada. She grew up near the Great Lakes that border the United States and Canada, in rural environs such as are featured in much of her early fiction. She attended public schools and was considered such a good student that she advanced a grade early on. She began writing fiction while in high school, and even wrote a novel during this time which she has said was derivative of Emily Bronte’s famous Wuthering Heights. She won a scholarship to attend the University of Western Ontario and spent two years there as an English major. It was there that she first published short stories, in a university publication. She left the university upon her marriage to James Munro, when the couple moved to British Columbia.

During the 1950s, Munro continued to write while raising her first two daughters. She sold some of her stories to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for dramatization and radio shows. Munro had a third daughter in 1966, and then in 1968 her first collection of short stories, The Dance of the Happy Shades, was published. ‘‘Boys and Girls’’ is from this first collection of stories. Munro’s only novel was published in 1971. In 1974 a second collection of stories was published. With this third publication Munro established herself as a contemporary writer of note.

Munro has seven published books to her credit, six of which are collections of short stories, making her a specialist in the short story genre. Most national literatures have writers who specialize in this way, another notable author being Anton Chekhov an early twentieth-century Russian writer famous for his short stories. It has often been said, therefore, that Munro is Canada’s Chekhov.

Munro’s fiction is consistently favorably received by critics and the reading public alike, and she has won numerous awards for her writing. She has been invited to be Writer-in-Residence at various universities, including her alma mater, the University of Western Ontario (which conferred her an Honorary D.Litt. in 1976).

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