This short story collection creates timeless, compact worlds and situations so unique that a happy ending feels entirely subversive. The titular “Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage” begins with a woman leaving her stable future to find the man she’s been exchanging letters with — only to realize that their long-distance relationship is built on lies. In “The Bear Came Over The Mountain,” an elderly man watches his ailing wife fall in love with another patient at her nursing home. Collectively, the stories build on themes of adultery, memory, and the lengths to which a person will go to either protect themselves or coddle someone they love.
“She would not be able to believe that, deep down, he had not some knowledge of this moment. Of her. To think of him not having that brought on a kind of emotional vertigo, the sense of horrid drop. And yet — an excitement. The unspeakable excitement you feel when a galloping disaster promises to release you from all responsibility for your own life. Then for shame you must compose yourself and stay very quiet.”
Alice Munro is the author of over ten collections of short stories and one novel, Lives of Girls and Women. In 2013, she was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature.
Length: 321 pages
Set in: Canada
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