Runaway has lingered on my nightstand since November, and I can’t rightly explain why. I’m an avid reader, but I read in cycles – a hundred pages in the bathtub, then nothing for a week or two. Two thick magazines on the plane, but no more than one short story a month. It’s easy to lose the subtlety and flow of a story, particularly when spread over a few months.
That is what happens. You put it away for a little while, and now and again you look in the closet for something else and you remember, and you think, soon. Then it becomes something that is just there, in the closet, and other things get crowded in front of it and on top of it and finally you don’t think about it at all.
The thing that was your bright treasure. You don’t think about it. A loss you could not contemplate at one time, and now it becomes something you can barely remember.
That is what happens.
And Runaway is subtle. This review by Jonathan Franzen captures the beauty and challenge of Munro’s writing – it focuses on small but compellingly human stories. Nothing happens on a historically momentous scale, but the stories she tells are full of those small events that feel historically momentous: meeting a stranger, deciding to leave, making a promise, learning the truth, falling in love, remembering.
The thing about life, Harry had told Lauren, was to live in the world with interest. To keep your eyes open and see the possibilities – see the humanity – in everybody you met. To be aware. If he had anything at all to teach her it was that. Be aware.