“Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage”
So for the sake of full disclosure, I’m not a huge fan of short stories, or short poems for that matter. But, Alice Munro’s “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” did win a Nobel Prize in Literature so I thought I would give it a shot. And, nope, I still don’t enjoy short stories.
I did get interested in the first chapter/story, the one which the book is named for, but as soon as I was intrigued, the story ended. The worst part, I think, is that the whole love/relationship part is the section that is skipped. Johanna shows up in this strange town and tends to a sick Ken, who she thinks loves her and she has fallen in love with. Though it wasn’t him writing her sweet-nothings in letters. And there is a hint of tenderness as she cares for him that he may be falling for her. Then all of a sudden, it’s years later. They are married. They have children.
Well, I want to know what happened?!?!?
Same thing with “Nettles,” another story I was just getting into. Some of the other stories are more set to exist on their own, but by the time I got to them, I was a bit disinterested.
Part of reading a story for me was feeling a connection with the characters, but after 70 pages, I feel as if we were still just meeting.
The description of scenes is exquisite and Munro is a very good writing. But I found the stories not nearly as interesting as I had hoped.
As a sidenote, I think a third of the women she writes about have some sort of affair or tryst or something. It seemed a little odd to me that that many would have to fall in love with someone else to either realize they still loved their husband or not. But maybe that’s just me.
Up next: “The Seduction of Water” by Carol Goodman