Review: The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro

This book of stories reads less like a (somewhat generously elaborated) memoir and more like a storyteller revisiting her thoughts, dreams, and choices after a lifetime of being in her own shoes, the boundaries of her own memory extending as far back as her ancestors and to the geological shaping of familial land.

Familiarity extends just on the cusp of awareness. It’s something that, as a Canadian, is particularly familiar: the distance of time and space, displacement, efforts to find and gain belonging, the distinctive difference between all people who cross our paths – and yet the webbed roots that trace us back together.

In looking to unearth her sentiment belonging to her family and to the land they stole and stripped and bled dry by the sheer fear of hope and survival, Munro looks for memory where sometimes only story can function as a reliable medium. But it’s a reality unabashed by the the faults of memory or by the nature of human stories.

It’s brilliant. Soft and complex. Perfectly human.

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