Friend of My Youth

Alice Munro, Author
Alice Munro, Author Alfred A. Knopf $18.95 (273p) ISBN 978-0-394-58442-3
Reviewed on: 03/01/1990
Release date: 03/01/1990
Munro's ( The Progress of Love ) unfailing sense of the timeless propels the stories in her seventh book to the point of quiet revelation. Writing often of Canadians in the provinces who look back on years past from the vantage point of middle or old age, she tells of an elderly man attempting a discreet exit from his life; a widow who seeks a better understanding of her late husband in his former Scottish stomping grounds; and a daughter who relates and then recasts a classic tale of female self-denial handed down as an uncomfortable inheritance by her mother. The last, the volume's title story, is an especially insightful work, suggesting both the opposition and communion between art and experience--between a daughter who will write as she likes and a mother whose steely mask forbids her to. It is difficult to do justice to Munro's magical way with characterization or to her unerring control of her own resources: she writes about the forging and dismantling of friendships, marriages, families and solitudes with a trenchant knowledge of life and fiction as conspiring forces of creation. BOMC and QPB alternates. (Mar.)
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