Monday, November 25, 2013

Book Report: "Amundsen"

I've been hard at work on my autumn reading list, but since I'm in the middle of Doctor Sleep, I decided to dedicate today's post to a short story by my literary spirit guide, Alice Munro. I've mentioned her a couple times on the blog, but haven't professed my love for her nearly as much as I ought. Such a failure on my part because Alice Munro truly is a wonder. After reading her elegant and deceptively simple stories, I'm always quiet, humbled, and grateful. It's like she's laying a strong, wise hand on my soul. And I don't say stuff like that about just any old author...

"Amundsen" covers the familiar Alice Munro landscape where, without much fanfare, innocence is lost, hopes are dashed, regrets are harbored, and life goes on. It takes place largely in a TB sanitarium, so you know I'm all about that. This story is from her latest and perhaps final collection, Dear Life (also on my autumn reading list), and concludes with four stories that Munro calls "autobiographical in feeling, though not, sometimes, entirely so in fact." She's such a treasure, and I can't recommend her work enough.

He washed the dishes, I dried. He put a dish towel round my waist to protect my dress. When the ends were efficiently tied he laid his hand against my upper back. Such firm pressure, fingers separated--he might almost have been taking stock of my body in a professional way. When I went to bed that night I could still feel that pressure. I felt it develop its intensity from the little finger to the hard thumb. I enjoyed it. That was more important really than the kiss placed on my forehead later, the moment before I got out of his car. A dry-lipped kiss, brief and formal, set upon me with hasty authority. --Alice Munro

Alice Munro has around fourteen other books, both story collections and novels. I recommend them all, but I especially love Friend of My Youth, Runaway, and Open Secrets.

1. Mint & Berry Lookbook, via Style.De; 2. Train tracks, by Back to the Gypsy; 3. "Chillin' by Turtle River," by Melanie of A Love for All Things Film; 4. Vintage train interior, by Beaches Marley, via Particular Poetry; 5. Rustic bedroom, via Planete Deco; 6. Boots, by Daniella Marie; 7. Girl on train, via Brown Dress with White Dots; 8. Vintage plaid skirt, via  Freckle Wonder; 9. Custom shoes, via In Scientia Veritas, in Arte Honestas;  10. Joel MacMillan, by Rodrigo Daguerre; 11. Girl at window, by Ana Luisa Pinto; 12. Sanitarium floor, via Dedicated to Decay.

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