The love of a good woman is one thing, but the love and loyalty of a great woman is a great thing. Any man can find a bitch to walk behind him, it takes a special one to be worthy of walking beside him
This is how my introduction to the world of Alice Munro’s writing begins – with a drowning. A man, an optometrist named D.M. Willens, loses his life to the Peregrine River in 1951. The reader learns this through the object that opens “The Love of a Good Woman”: a red box of optometrist’s tools, which contains, among other things, an ophthalmoscope.
The stories in The Love of a Good Woman take us back to familiar Munro territory: capturing the emotional largeness of small-town life. From haunted people trying to keep deathbed promises to the exposure of potentially damaging secrets among family members, these eight stories span decades, and subtly explore the sense of estrangement and emotional isolation many of us struggle with. They also reveal how grief and guilt can forge deep connections between people.
The Love of a Good Woman won the 1998 Scotiabank Giller Prize and was a contender for Canada Reads 2004, when it was defended by Measha Brueggergosman. Alice Munro was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013.
THE LOVE OF A GOOD WOMAN
By Alice Munro.
340 pp. New York:
Alfred A. Knopf. $24.