The View From Castle Rock 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… The View From Castle Rock 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… 2006-11-07 Fiction Knopf
Book Review

The View From Castle Rock (2006)

SOLID 'ROCK' Munro's new story collection starts slow, but once it finds its footing its tales all hit home
SOLID 'ROCK' Munro's new story collection starts slow, but once it finds its footing its tales all hit home
EW's GRADE
B+

Details Release Date: Nov 07, 2006; Writer: Alice Munro; Genre: Fiction; Publisher: Knopf

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.

Originally posted Nov 03, 2006 Published in issue #906 Nov 10, 2006 Order article reprints