ALICE MUNRO, in 2013, received the Nobel Prize for Literature. What is amazing about this is that she only writes short stories. She is the first person EVER to be awarded the prize for other than novels—for short stories. I remembered from reading her long ago that her stories are deceivingly simple to read and incredibly difficult to understand at the same time.
It was at that time I learned not to glut on her; she was too rich and complicated. I slipped away for years. But here I am again, having been seduced by the title.
The title of the opening story is the same as the title of the book. I read the story half-a-dozen times searching for the answer to the title (What, pray tell, was Et meaning to tell Arthur?). I guessed and stabbed at the answer, then not satisfied I skimmed, read faster and still faster. Nope. And when I finally slowed down and got it, I couldn't believe I had missed it half-a-dozen times. It was sticking out in front of me, as clear as day. And it knocked my eyes out.
The reader must be smart and alert, and with pacing dialed to SLOW.
I'd be interested to know if anyone else had difficulty with the opening story. And then, having "gotten it," fell in love with it. But please, don't tell me you "got it" the first time out. I doubt I will believe you. UNLESS, you are an experienced Munro reader—something I plan on becoming right now.
So here I go to the second story.