"Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang onto it."
Recently, Alice Munro won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 82-year-old short story author, called the "master of the contemporary short story," is the 14th woman to win the prize.
Munro's short stories are intense, touching ones — focusing on characters' emotions and experiences. Her characters are often women from small towns in Ontario with difficult relationships with men, mood changes and inner conflicts. And, while she's warming up to happy endings, she's not afraid to touch on crises or darkness when it comes to love and family.
Below we count down five Munro must-reads and the memorable quotes on love.
1. "Tricks" (Runaway)
In Tricks, the perpetually single Robin, who is devoted to taking care of her sick sister, falls in love with a sweet clockmaker while she's on a trip. They plan to meet a year later in the same spot, but when she shows up at her door he has no idea who she is. She's crushed. Turns out, it was his brother. Whoops.
Memorable quote: "This is ridiculous. This I do not accept. Nevertheless."
2. "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" (Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage)
Munro tackles the topic of aging and how it affects our significant others in this story, which was later made into a film called Away From Her. Told mostly from the perspective of Grant, the story switches between the past and present, from when he meets his wife Fiona to when she enters a nursing home at 70-years-old, shows signs of dementia and develops a close relationship with another man named Aubrey.
Memorable quote: "I don't mean he got sick on purpose. It just happened. He's not mad at me anymore and I'm not mad at him. It's just life. You can't beat life."
3. "Runaway" (Runaway)
In Runaway, Carla is married to the troubled Clark, who manipulated her into marrying him and who she still fears. Despite his horrible nature, awful sex acts, and even the fact that she wants to leave him, she never leaves her husband.
Memorable quote: "Few people, very few, have a treasure, and if you do you must hang onto it. You must not let yourself be waylaid, and have it taken from you."
4. The Beggar Maid
In a collection of interweaving stories, this book follows Rose from childhood to middle age, focusing on her relationship with her practical stepmother Flo. In the span of 40 years, the reader joins Rose through her constant arguments with Flo, her romantic mistakes and how she attempts to break out of a small community.
Memorable quote: "Love removes the world for you, and just as surely when it's going well as when it's going badly."
5. "Bardon Bus" (The Moons Of Jupiter)
After a romantic affair in Australia, a woman returns to Canada and attempts to become sexually fulfilled and get back to her normal life.
Memorable quote: "Then I come back again and again to the center of my fantasy, to the moment when you give yourself up, give yourself over, to the assault which is guaranteed to finish off everything you've been before."
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