Entertainment Weekly

Subscribe

Stay Connected

Subscribe

Advertise With Us

Learn More

Skip to content
Emmys 2017
Every unforgettable moment, every gorgeous dress.Click here

Article

The View From Castle Rock

Posted on

The View From Castle Rock

type:
Book
Current Status:
In Season
author:
Alice Munro
publisher:
Knopf
genre:
Fiction

We gave it a B+

Alice Munro’s 12-story collection The View From Castle Rock is pitched as ”more personal than any she’s written before,” but that’s just hogwash. The genre doyenne’s perfectly modulated tales have always scored a direct wallop to the cerebral cortex. And she’s still at it as she fictionalizes the history of her father’s family, the Laidlaws. Unfortunately, the book’s first third thrums on; to fully absorb Rock‘s clear-eyed charm, start on page 111 with ”The Wilds of Morris Township,” which follows the Scottish clan’s arrival in Canada and inevitable struggle against 19th-century small-town mores. What then follows is a lineup of gorgeous (but never wistful) first-person narratives about childhood friends (”Fathers,” which echoes her own 1994 story ”Spaceships Have Landed”), her parents’ divergent work ethics (”Working for a Living”), and the perils of a lackluster marriage (”The Ticket”). She doesn’t broach any new themes, but Munro’s prodigious talent is all here.