"Literature is strewn with the wreckage of those who have minded beyond reason the opinion of others."
Alice Munro’s short stories never fail to intrigue me. Some of the characters resemble people I have met in my life. Others are complete strangers who pique my curiosity and encourage me to try to understand them better. Even though I did not feel identified with any of the characters in this book, I found the stories compelling and the characters complex and interesting.
One day Carla reveals she is not happy in her marriage, and Sylvia helps Carla leave her husband. Eventually Sylvia’s kindness is mocked. The story is intertwined with the story of a goat that Carla and her husband own. As the goat grows she becomes overly attached to Carla and appears to be a menacing force to her jealous husband. Carla is not the kind of woman who feels "trapped in her marriage" as some reviewers pointed out. Her identity is merged to her husband's identity. There is something perverse in that couple.
Alice Munro is incisive but not preachy. There is no direction to hold onto. You can take your thoughts and reflections wherever you want to take them. Don’t expect Munro to do that for you. Yet she manages to unearth issues that we’d rather hide away and not discuss because it can be shameful or embarrassing. In some of these stories she dissects the human soul and carves out its secrets ruthlessly.
"Tricks" broke my soul into one thousand pieces; I promise you that there is no way you will predict what the ending will be like.
All the stories in this collection have a character who seems to be escaping from something or somebody, either in an emotional or a physical way.