Monday, July 14, 2008

Chance/Soon/Silence from Alice Munro’s Runaway

Could you wait around for a man’s wife to die?

Are your parents really who you remember them to be?

Can you predict how your children will turn out?

Chance, Soon and Silence are the second, third and fourth stories in Alice Munro’s Runaway collection. They each centre on the woman, Juliet, at three different stages of her life. In the first, Juliet is in her early twenties, a scholar and in love with a married man. Juliet is surprise by her own actions, but I don’t think I am. In Soon, she visits her parents. It is several years later and I think she is hoping to recapture some sort of feelings from her childhood, but so much has changed. Silence is an unexpected, yet surprising turn for her life. She started surrounded by “silence” and now she ends that way.

Each of Munro’s stories stand on their own. However, setting them in sequence allows some questions to be answered for the reader. It is an interesting way to look at an individual’s life, how things change; that something you would never have considered twenty years ago is so natural now. I do still wonder about Juliet’s daughter and the reasons for her actions. Perhaps in one of the future stories we will get to revisit her.

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