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2009 Story 199

From the August, 2009 issue of Harper's Magazine:



199. Too Much Happiness by Alice Munro.   I found this novella to be long and dreary.  Munro capably evinces the inner life of a (real) female mathematician / author of the late 1800s, balancing what the character seems to want with what the world actually expects of her.  And the first page or so sets an interesting tone that made me want to keep reading.  As the story trudged along, however, I found myself less and less interested in the main character or what was going on around her.  Her interminable train trip (the second half of the story) felt as painful to me as it must have to her, but for very different reasons.  I just wanted the author to get on with it, already.  Perhaps I'm just not a patient enough reader right now to suffer alongside the troubled Sophia.  In the end, I did not at all feel for her -- in fact, I think I might have been actively rooting against her happiness.  And I don't really think that was Munro's intent for this story at all.

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