‘What is Remembered’ by Alice Munro

So many Munro stories to choose from, but this, about a woman remembering an affair decades after it happened, is up there in my favourites. What I love about it is how, as ever, immense the story is; how so very specific; all the scope of a novel, as is always the case with an Alice Munro short story. As far as I know, this is one of her lesser known stories and what I love most about it is the way she just drops the affair in, incidental, as if it was nothing; upon first reading, I had no idea it was coming. And in a way, the affair was nothing – it didn’t spell the end of her marriage, there was no big confrontation – but in another way, it was also everything. And it’s precisely this – that a moment can be both incidental and yet monumental, a moment that can change you without even realising it – that I love and have tried to learn from Alice Munro’s stories.

First published in the The New Yorker, February 2001, and available to subscribers to read here. Collected in Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage, McClelland and Stewart in 2001

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