Sunday, February 11, 2018

Ms. Hen reviews RUNAWAY

Alice Munro
Vintage Books

Ms. Hen decided to read this book because she has read other books by Alice Munro, and she adored them. She saw a Spanish film recently, called JULIETA, by one of Ms. Hen’s favorite directors, Pedro Almodovar, which is based on some of the stories in this collection, and Ms. Hen was curious as to how the stories translated to the film. She read that Almodovar had a hard time making the film in Canada, since he doesn’t know anything about the country, so he decided to transform the story and make it Spanish. Spain is different from Canada, as everyone knows, but Ms. Hen thinks the stories of the woman with a tragic past crossed over well.

The three stories, “Chance,” “Soon,” and “Silence,” are about Juliet at different times in her life. The story “Chance,” is about her traveling on a train where she meets a man, and dismisses him, then tragedy occurs. She meets another man, and she doesn’t know that she will become involved with him. She is a Latin scholar and an awkward young woman. She loves the classics, but she doesn’t know if she can make a career of them. She is scarred by the events on the train.

In the story, “Soon,” Juliet visits her parents with her baby. She doesn’t know what happened to her parents. A woman, Irene, helps her father with the housework, since her mother has a heart condition. Juliet thinks it’s strange that her father admires Irene so much, and it unsettles her. Her mother is delicate and cannot handle much.

The story, “Silence,” is about Juliet and her daughter Penelope's decision to join a religious organization, which Juliet thinks is a cult. Penelope leaves home and never returns. Juliet is troubled by this, but she continues her life. Ms. Hen distinctly remembers this part from the movie, the woman is old, but she pines for her lost daughter, and she doesn’t tell people that she had a daughter, and that causes problems in her life.

Another story that attracted Ms. Hen’s attention was the story, “Tricks,” about a lonely young woman who goes to the theater in the city, loses her wallet, meets a man, and becomes somewhat obsessed. She finds out what she thought was true was a trick, that it is like the Shakespearean plays she had gone to see. Sometimes when a person thinks one thing is true, the exact opposite is true. Ms. Hen has learned this in life. At times, things just aren’t what they seem.

There are some chickens in this collection of stories. One of Ms. Hen favorites is in the short story “Soon,” “Their father had been killed in an accident in the chicken barn where he worked.” That is, Irene’s husband, the woman who helps Juliet’s father. Ms. Hen imagines that dying in a chicken barn would be a poetic way to die, but she doesn’t think the characters would believe that. She understands the characters would consider it bad luck.

All the stories in this collection are about women and the different degrees of their sadness and tragedies. Ms. Hen felt for these women, because their problems could be everyone’s problems. Ms. Hen recommends this beautiful collection to anyone who wants to feel emotions shine through the pages, and learn how to see humanity better.

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