“Family Furnishings” by Alice Munro

familyfurnishings. jpgThis Alice Munro short story collection is a gift at any time. Family Furnishings contains twenty-four of Munro’s short stories, gathered from the last two decades, and is a companion volume to Selected Stories (l968-l994). It has some famous stories, such as The Bear came over the Mountain, whose last sentence is worth the whole book, and which was made into the major feature film Away from Her.

Munro often writes about the people she knew in her Southwestern Ontario hometown, but her books cover the fullness of human experience and so we travel with her over the whole world. One of these stories, Too Much Happiness, gives the life of the noted nineteenth-century mathematician, Sophia Kovalevsky, where romantic love enters the picture in an unexpected way to show just who is in control.

Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 20l3. She had been one of Canada’s favorite writers for decades before this, winning many awards including two Giller Prizes, three Governor General Awards, the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Man Booker International Prize. Her collections have been published around the world in many languages.   Canada can certainly be proud of her latest achievement. But mostly we have always loved her writing for the way she shows our own country. This collection is one of the best.

Reviewed by Anne McDougall