A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968-1994 (Vintage International)
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A New York Times Editors’ Choice Book
Spanning almost thirty years and settings that range from big cities to small towns and farmsteads of rural Canada, this magnificent collection brings together twenty-eight stories by a writer of unparalleled wit, generosity, and emotional power. In A Wilderness Station: Selected Stories, 1968–1994, Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are revealed to be as spacious as prairies and locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever.
A traveling salesman during the Depression takes his children with him on an impromptu visit to a former girlfriend. A poor girl steels herself to marry a rich fiancé she can’t quite manage to love. An abandoned woman tries to choose between the opposing pleasures of seduction and solitude. To read these stories is to succumb to the spell of a true narrative sorcerer, a writer who enchants her readers utterly even as she restores them to their truest selves.
Before the children were allowed to escape to the garden—very narrow, a town garden, but still a garden, with hedges, shade, a border of yellow lilies—where a long table was covered with crêpe paper in infants’ colors of pink and blue, and the woman from the kitchen set out plates of sandwiches, ice cream, prettily tinted and tasteless sherbet, they were compelled to accept, one by one, a year’s-end gift, all wrapped and tied with ribbon, from Miss Marsalles. Except among the most naive new
piano, she would light up with the importance of this discovery. But it seems that the girl’s playing like this is something she always expected, and she finds it natural and satisfying; people who believe in miracles do not make much fuss when they actually encounter one. Nor does it seem that she regards this girl with any more wonder than the other children from Greenhill School, who love her, or the rest of us, who do not. To her no gift is unexpected, no celebration will come as a surprise.
third, to complete the fan. I paced out from CATHERINE the same number of steps that it took to get from CATHERINE to WILLIAM, and at this spot I began pulling grass and scrabbling in the dirt with my bare hands. Soon I felt the stone and knew that I was right. I worked away and got the whole stone clear and I read the name MEDA. There it was with the others, staring at the sky. I made sure I had got to the edge of the stone. That was all the name there was—Meda. So it was true that she was
dreaming about?” but I was not dreaming; I was trying to understand the danger, to read the signs of invasion. MY FATHER said, “Do you want to come with me and look at the traps?” He had a trapline for muskrats along the river. When he was younger he used to spend days, nights, weeks in the bush, following creeks all up and down Wawanash County, and he trapped not only muskrat then but red fox, wild mink, marten, all animals whose coats are prime in the fall. Muskrat is the only thing you can
overtures? Oh, Patrick could. Patrick could. Simon’s Luck ROSE GETS LONELY in new places; she wishes she had invitations. She goes out and walks the streets and looks in the lighted windows at all the Saturday-night parties, the Sunday-night family suppers. It’s no good telling herself she wouldn’t be long inside there, chattering and getting drunk, or spooning up the gravy, before she’d wish she was walking the streets. She thinks she could take on any hospitality. She could go to parties in