Too much happiness

I read Too much happiness, a short story collection by Alice Munro.

The book comprises of about a dozen short stories, in which the author presents different aspects of life, and how people cope with dark situations, and the crude reality of the world, not without hope though.

The title is given by the last story, which also gives the book title, in which we see the life of Sofia Kovalevskaya, a Russian writer and mathematician during the 19th century. Sofia’s life is torn from love, marriage, and aversion towards female scientists, and in similar ways reminds me of Anna Karenina. We see the horror of the 19th century incurable diseases, which are now piece of cake, but end prematurely Sofia’s life at just 41. It’s the only story that ends with death. The other stories, which I will comment next, have a small glimpse of hope.

We see in one story a man who kills his own children, but still hopes for redemption from his wife and mother of his children. The shocking truth sometimes is too much to accept, and the awful desire of wanting to relive things makes people forget the reality.

Another story is about a woman who lost her husband, and in the shock of the event, almost falls victim to a wanted murderer, but somehow manages to escape and finds new hope in what life has left her.

In a story, a woman tells her childhood drama that she managed to forget for 50 years, about she and a friend murdering another child, a handicapped child, which only wanted to be friends with them, but always rejected by the community.

Another story is about a woman who finds herself dumped by her husband because of a maid which helped in their home, but manages to find a new life, and realizing that she was teacher to the daughter of the woman who took her place in her husband’s life.

Another story is about a dying man, sick of leukemia, who is nearly abused by a woman who has strange interests in him, but the girl in the house saves him and his dying marriage by not allowing his family and the succubus to intervene in his life.

A story is about a child who evolves into a completely different man, forgetting his family, abandoning and never wanting to see his parents again, going into a life of poverty and slum, only wanting his inheritance from his old mother for his own purpose in life.

The short stories are full of emotion, and present a single thing, in a good way, but all of them are pretty dark and depressing. The feeling when you finish this book is that life is worth living, but have to be careful what do you live for, and to enjoy every moment.

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