‘Friend of My Youth,’ by Alice Munro

This story, which pretends for a while to a kind of staid rural middle-Canadian domestic story of manners, suddenly opens out onto a recontextualizing, explosive endingthat connects the story of the present to a long-ago story an ocean away, and the reader is confronted with the terror of the cause-and-effect chain that history has enabled but the present has obscured, a situation common to all of us when you come to think of it.

First published in The New Yorker, January 1990. Collected in Friend of My Youth, Knopf/Vintage 1990 and Selected Stories, 1997

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