Friend of My Youth

Friend of My Youth

by Alice Munro


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The ten miraculously accomplished stories in Alice Munro's Friend of My Youth not only astonish and delight but also convey the unspoken mysteries at the heart of all human experience.

"[Friend of My Youth is] a wonderful collection of stories, beautifully written and deeply felt."—Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780771066979
Publisher: McClelland & Stewart Ltd.
Publication date: 03/01/1990
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 1.50(h) x 9.50(d)

About the Author

Alice Munro is a Fitzhenry and Whiteside author.


Clinton, Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia

Date of Birth:

July 10, 1931

Place of Birth:

Wingham, Ontario, Canada


University of Western Ontario (no degree)

What People are Saying About This

Cynthia Oezizk

She is our Chekhov, and is going to outlast most of her contemporaries.

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Friend of My Youth 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 6 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
This was the first Alice Munro book I read. I picked it up by chance in a used bookstore in Toronto; the jacket description was interesting. I fell in love with all the stories, esp. the title story and I sent it to my aunt soon after because it reminded me so much of her. It is hard to say why this book moved me so, but the writing and the characters are so deeply felt. Very poignant at times, but not sappy or saccharine. There are a lot of writers out there who *try* to write like this, and they get their novels made into movies and their books get promoted by Oprah, but really they are just cliches. This book felt like it was about real people,with all their faults and fears, and yet it was so simple and direct. Truly I can't see why I hadn't heard of Alice Munro before, but I'm glad I found out about her now.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I read this book for my book group; opinion was varied about the book. Some people could hardly get through even one story. I liked it very much and have recommended it to others. I've also ordered another book by Munro.
EdwardC on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Munro is argueably the best writer of the short story in the English language. Of her twelve or so collections of short fiction, this, I think, is my favorite. But it's like trying to choose which child one love's best.
Periodista on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Whew! She is so obsessed with death in these stories. And this was published in 1990. I've noticed it in recent volumes, but it's a preoccupation that would be expected at her age.Anyway, you know what you're getting with Munro: expertly crafted stories about women, unreliable men, extramarital affairs. Usually (too often, really) the women are girls when Munro was (40-50s) and some to a pivotal age as the sexual revolution hit. Almost always here, the stores take place somewhere in Ontario.But she does end up in Scotland. In that case, a widow is visiting a place where her husband was stationed during WW2 and happens upon the young girlfriend of her husband's youth. In later books, one deduces that Munro herself went back to Scotland to trace her own family's emigration.There is some foreshadowing here of Munro's "historical" stories which dominated (at least in my mind) View from Castle Rock. Notably "Maneseteung", in which the life of a town's late 19th century "poetess" is imagined. (Menseteung being a river.). It's just so easy for me to imagine: in a small town, you know the bare outlines--the dates, the slim volume, maybe the cemetery stone--of some town's claim to fame. And she fills it in: the rhythms of Almeda Roth's life and then this barely there acquaintance with the hardworking Jarvis Poulter--walks to church-- that could have become marriage."But he follows. He follows her as far as the back door and into the back hall. He speaks to her in a tone of harsh joviality that she has never before heard from him .. He had not been able to imagine her as a wife. Now that is possible. He is sufficiently stirred by her loosened hair--prematurely gray but thick and soft--her flushed face, her light clothing, which nobody but a husband should see. And by her indiscretion, her agitation, her foolishness, her need?"Even if the subject matter isn't of much interest, writers must or should read her for mastery of craft. There's the efficient way she sketches a character. I kept noticing how much she moves back and forth in time but it's all so seamless. She often starts with a very vivid childhood memory, often involving a childhood friend or adversary, and then we're way ahead somewhere in adulthood. Oh, she might shift back again but I become so absorbed in the present day, I usually forget how the story started. Yet it's always tightly tied together again. Sure, that childhood incident or the haphazard mother explains something about the way the adult *is* but the dots are never straight.The story I know I had read before, perhaps long ago in an anthology, was "Differently." It's a familiar Munro situation: the youngish married mother, Georgia, in Vancouver, reacting to the quakes of the early 1970s, has an affair that ultimately ends her marriage. But I had totally forgotten the main details, the centrality of Georgia's friendship with another (philandering) woman. And that Georgia has to leave her husband because she fell so easily into an affair with a man she doesn't care about at all.
SeriousGrace on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Friend of My Youth is a collection of short stories all based on the lives of women."Friend of My Youth" is the opening story. Imagine hearing a story from your mother, something that happened long before you were born, but has stayed in your mother's mind all this time and important enough to be told to you when you were old enough. But, and this is the catch, you don't know how it ends, even after your mother's death. You simply don't know the end. And so begins Friend of My Youth. The connection through all of the stories are women. They have lead roles emotionally as well as physically.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago