Friend of My Youth is one of many short story collections by the brilliant Alice Munro. I've read a few of her books, but not all. One day it will be all, because I am never disappointed. Friend of My Youth was elegant, beautifully written, filled with emotionally complex characters. I picked out a few of my favourite stories to say a few words about.
Friend Of My Youth
Friend of my Youth is a perfect story. It is strong and stirring. I love the unnamed narrator. She loves and hates her mother. She admires and possibly hates Flora. Does she also dislike all the friends her mother had in her youth; the ones she never finished writing to? Friend of my Youth is the perfect beginning to this collection, making me eager to read the rest.
Another beautifully written story. Very sad, very poetic. I loved Meda and again, an unnamed narrator. Was the narrator researching this writer's life? What was the fascination with Almeda Roth? I wanted Almeda to have a happy ending.
Hold Me Fast, Don't Let Me Pass
I thought I was going to be disappointed by the ending of this beautiful story, but the last line changed it for me, changed everything. Funny how that works.
Pictures of the Ice was a fantastic story. Definitely a favourite in the collection. Austin is sad and remarkable. So is Karin. Each knew what the other was doing without saying a word. They helped each other through difficulties and supported each other quietly. I have so much hope for Karin. I wish I could know where she ends up.
Oh, What Avails
I enjoyed Joan. I feel like this long short story could have been a novel. I wonder what happened with her husband and children, her brother, her lover and Matilda. It would have been interesting to explore her life further.
Wigtime was weird. Margot was probably the most unrelatable of all the characters. It wasn't weird, as in strange things happened, it was just different that the other stories, though still exactly the same. You'd have to read it to understand, I supposed. It's more of a feeling. Maybe I just don't like Margot's behaviour.
All these stories follow women from the beginning of their lives to middle age. They are divorced or separated. Each story has an affair. More than one story talked about marrying, not really knowing yourself, then needing a change as the women aged. Normally, I don't really like cheating as a topic of a story, it doesn't appeal to me. I appreciate relationships that endure and forever love, but the stories in Friend of My Youth are not like other stories I've read or read about. The affairs are not salacious, the separations are not treated lightly. Was this an actual trend during this time, divorces from people married to young? Each story felt so real, as though this was your mother, your friend's mother, you were talking to. Again, I'm enamoured my Munro's beautiful writing and am eager to pick up another of her collections.