Too Much Happiness

Too Much Happiness

Stories

Book - 2009
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Ten superb new stories by one of our most beloved and admired writers--the winner of the 2009 Man Booker International Prize.

In the first story a young wife and mother receives release from the unbearable pain of losing her three children from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other stories uncover the "deep-holes" in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and how a boy's disfigured face provides both the good things in his life and the bad. And in the long title story, we accompany Sophia Kovalevsky--a late-nineteenth-century Russian #65533;migr#65533; and mathematician--on a winter journey that takes her from the Riviera, where she visits her lover, to Paris, Germany, and, Denmark, where she has a fateful meeting with a local doctor, and finally to Sweden, where she teaches at the only university in Europe willing to employ a female mathematician.

With clarity and ease, Alice Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories that shed light on the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives.

Too Much Happiness is a compelling, provocative--even daring--collection.
Publisher: New York : Alfred A. Knopf, c2009.
Edition: 1st American ed.
ISBN: 9780307269768
0307269760
Characteristics: 303 p. ; 22 cm.

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s
sgcf
Mar 26, 2017

Too Much Happiness is the title of one story in this collection, and certainly not an over-arcing theme. Many of the stories are intense or downright grim. Intense, because Munro is a master of creating the whole world of each story in 30 pages, and reeling in the reader with her meticulous detail and ingenious plotting where the hook is rarely ever what the story is *about*. Along the way we’re treated to penetrating and shrewd gems about, oh, so many aspects of ordinary life. With short story collections I usually read only one a day to let it roll around in me, but couldn’t help myself – sometimes gobbled two in a day.

p
patcarstensen
Jan 10, 2015

I didn't like all the stories -- I suppose you expect that in a "collection" -- but, as a math girl, I loved the story about Sonya Kovalevsky. She should have done the research tho to find out that Poincare was mostly known as "Henri."

e
empbee
Jul 16, 2013

Very good stories, some are a bit too "accidental" but all the same excellent.

WVMLBookClubTitles Jun 22, 2013

The latest collection from Munro investigates loneliness, regret, loss,
and death in her typically elegant style. Her characters are ordinary people trying to piece together a life or accept a broken one. Fans of the prize-winning Munro will take pleasure in this book and those unfamiliar with her work will find a treasure.

m
maipenrai
Mar 03, 2013

** stars. Again I am not a fan of unrelated short story collections. Often a better title for this book might be Too Much Despair.

s
SueFenton
Oct 31, 2011

I tried to do this by phone because I didn't have my computer with me. The time allowed to input the bar code was too short. I had to do it on computer because I had not memorized my bar code.

ksoles May 19, 2011

Yes, I know Alice Munro is one of the most successful story-tellers in Canada and, yes, I know she is extremely talented and profound. Even so, her writing has never really appealed to me; I have always found it tedious, unrelatable and melodramatic. But with all the buzz and praise surrounding Munro's newest collection, Too Much Happiness, I figured I'd give it a try like a good Canadian.

In the story "Face" , Munro writes: "In your life there are a few places, or maybe only the one place, where something happened, and then there are all the other places." The idea of place forms a central theme of this collection as characters connect their surroundings to life-changing and often terribly dark events such as a freak accident, a home invasion and an extreme case of childhood cruelty.

Out of the ten stories, I really enjoyed four. "Dimensions," "Fiction," "Wenlock Edge" and "Free Radicals" all engaged my attention and featured strong, creative women triumphing in difficult (and often creepy) circumstances. The other stories were more or less consistent with my general evaluation of Munro's work: dry and irrelevant. Unfortunately, I felt that the worst mistake of the book was the disjointed and extraneous title story, "Too Much Happiness," which is based on the real life of Russian mathematician Sophia Kovalevsky.

Ultimately, the collection did confirm my appreciation of Munro though she definitely doesn't sit among my favourites. I guess I'm just not Canadian enough...

l
LMarty
Apr 12, 2011

I had a difficult time remembering if I read these? Pretty brainless forgettable read.

f
fytob
Apr 09, 2011

Overall this book was terrible. only 2 stories worth looking at, "free radicals" and "childs play".
At the end of some stories, I had to ask myself ...."and so what?" as they weren't very good.
Overall the book gave the impression of a middle aged writer conveying how she missed out on some things in life and coupled that thought with some stories she heard about regular people.

9
9
Mar 01, 2011

very in depth and compassionate

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buddhfrog10
Jan 19, 2011

buddhfrog10 thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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