Spanning almost thirty years and in 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. Alice Munro makes lives that seem small unfold until they are as spacious as prairies. She locates the moments of love and betrayal, desire and forgiveness, that change those lives forever. Munro enchants her readers even as she restores them to their truest selves.
Alice Munro’s short stories can feel like the sort of pleasure that should be tucked out of sight, but I continue reading them anyway. Recently, “Fits” shot to the top of my favorites.
On the surface, the story is about a murder-suicide in a small, remote Canadian town in the dead of winter. Town folk deal with the tragedy in their own ways.
But Munro is not afraid to probe. (This may be why I return to her stories again and again.) Although “Fits” unfolds in a factual, methodical manner, the intricacies of human nature simmer below the surface. The tenuousness of our confidence in others is revealed and the story’s increasing disquiet becomes more and more enthralling.
I think I could have been one of those average, everyday characters in “Fits.” But how would I have responded to the event? And what might my response reveal about my true nature?
And if you were a character in “Fits,” how would you have responded?