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Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You: 13 Stories [Anglais] [Broché]

Alice Munro

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Description de l'ouvrage

12 octobre 2004 Vintage
WINNER OF THE NOBEL PRIZE® IN LITERATURE 2013

In the thirteen stories in her remarkable second collection, Alice Munro demonstrates the precise observation, straightforward prose style, and masterful technique that led no less a critic than John Updike to compare her to Chekhov. The sisters, mothers and daughters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends in these stories shimmer with hope and love, anger and reconciliation, as they contend with their histories and their present, and what they can see of the future.

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Something I've Been Meaning To Tell You


"Anyway he knows how to fascinate the women," said Et to Char. She could not tell if Char went paler, hearing this, because Char was pale in the first place as anybody could get. She was like a ghost now, with her hair gone white. But still beautiful, she couldn't lose it.
"No matter to him the age or the size," Et pressed on. "It's natural to him as breathing, I guess. I only hope the poor things aren't taken in by it."
"I wouldn't worry," Char said.
The day before, Et had taken Blaikie Noble up on his invitation to go along on one of his tours and listen to his spiel. Char was asked too, but of course she didn't go. Blaikie Noble ran a bus. The bottom part of it was painted red and the top part was striped, to give the effect of an awning. On the side was painted: LAKESHORE TOURS, INDIAN GRAVES, LIMESTONE GARDENS, MILLIONAIRE'S MANSION, BLAIKIE NOBLE, DRIVER, GUIDE. Blaikie had a room at the hotel, and he also worked on the grounds, with one helper, cutting grass and clipping hedges and digging the borders. What a comedown, Et had said at the beginning of the summer when they first found out he was back. She and Char had known him in the old days.
So Et found herself squeezed into his bus with a lot of strangers, though before the afternoon was over she had made friends with a number of them and had a couple of promises of jackets needing letting out, as if she didn't have enough to do already. That was beside the point, the thing on her mind was watching Blaikie.
And what did he have to show? A few mounds with grass growing on them, covering dead Indians, a plot full of odd-shaped, grayish-white, dismal-looking limestone things--far-fetched imitations of plants (there could be the cemetery, if that was what you wanted)--and an old monstrosity of a house built with liquor money. He made the most of it. A historical discourse on the Indians, then a scientific discourse on the Limestone. Et had no way of knowing how much of it was true. Arthur would know. But Arthur wasn't there; there was nobody there but silly women, hoping to walk beside Blaikie to and from the sights, chat with him over their tea in the Limestone Pavilion, looking forward to having his strong hand under their elbows, the other hand brushing somewhere around the waist, when he helped them down off the bus ("I'm not a tourist," Et whispered sharply when he tried it on her).
He told them the house was haunted. The first Et had ever heard of it, living ten miles away all her life. A woman had killed her husband, the son of the millionaire, at least it was believed she had killed him.
"How?" cried some lady, thrilled out of her wits.
"Ah, the ladies are always anxious to know the means, said Blaikie, in a voice like cream, scornful and loving. "It was a slow--poison. Or that's what they said. This is all hearsay, all local gossip." (Local my foot, said Et to herself.) "She didn't appreciate his lady friends. The wife didn't. No."
He told them the ghost walked up and down in the garden, between two rows of blue spruce. It was not the murdered man who walked, but the wife, regretting. Blaikie smiled ruefully at the busload. At first Et had thought his attentions were all false, an ordinary commercial flirtation, to give them their money's worth. But gradually she was getting a different notion. He bent to each woman he talked to--it didn't matter how fat or scrawny or silly she was--as if there was one thing in her he would like to find. He had a gentle and laughing but ultimately serious, narrowing look (was that the look men finally had when they made love, that Et would never see?) that made him seem to want to be a deep-sea diver diving down, down through all the emptiness and cold and wreckage to discover the one thing he had set his heart on, something small and precious, hard to locate, as a ruby maybe on the ocean floor. That was a look she would like to have described to Char. No doubt Char had seen it. But did she know how freely it was being distributed?


Char and Arthur had been planning a trip that summer to see Yellowstone Park and the Grand Canyon, but they did not go. Arthur suffered a series of dizzy spells just at the end of school, and the doctor put him to bed. Several things were the matter with him. He was anemic, he had an irregular heartbeat, there was trouble with his kidneys. Et worried about leukemia. She woke at night, worrying.
"Don't be silly," said Char serenely, "He's overtired."
Arthur got up in the evenings and sat in his dressing gown. Blaikie Noble came to visit. He said his room at the hotel was a hole above the kitchen, they were trying to steam-cook him. It made him appreciate the cool of the porch. They played the games that Arthur loved, schoolteacher's games. They played a geography game, and they tried to see who could make the most words out of the name Beethoven. Arthur won. He got thirty-four. He was immensely delighted.
"You'd think you'd found the Holy Grail," Char said.
They played "Who Am I?" Each of them had to choose somebody to be--real or imaginary, living or dead, human or animal--and the others had to try to guess it in twenty questions. Et got who Arthur was on the thirteenth question. Sir Galahad.
"I never thought you'd get it so soon."
"I thought back to Char saying about the Holy Grail."
"My strength is as the strength of ten," said Blaikie Noble, "Because my heart is pure. I didn't know I remembered that."
"You should have been King Arthur," Et said. "King Arthur is your namesake."
"I should have. King Arthur was married to the most beautiful woman in the world."
"Ha," said Et. "We all know the end of that story."
Char went into the living room and played the piano in the dark.


The flowers that bloom in the spring, tra-la,
Have nothing to do with the case....


When Et arrived, out of breath, that past June, and said, "Guess who I saw downtown on the street ?" Char, who was on her knees picking strawberries, said, "Blaikie Noble."
"You've seen him."
"No," said Char. "I just knew. I think I knew by your voice."
A name that had not been mentioned between them for thirty years. Et was too amazed then to think of the explanation that came to her later. Why did it need to be a surprise to Char? There was a postal service in this country, there had been all along.
"I asked him about his wife," she said. "The one with the dolls." (As if Char wouldn't remember.) "He says she died a long time ago. Not only that. He married another one and she's dead. Neither could have been rich. And where is all the Nobles' money, from the hotel?"
"We'll never know," said Char, and ate a strawberry.


The hotel had just recently been opened up again. The Nobles had given it up in the twenties and the town had operated it for a while as a hospital. Now some people from Toronto had bought it, renovated the dining room, put in a cocktail lounge, reclaimed the lawns and garden, though the tennis court seemed to be beyond repair. There was a croquet set put out again. People came to stay in the summers, but they were not the sort of people who used to come. Retired couples. Many widows and single ladies. Nobody would have walked a block to see them get off the boat, Et thought. Not that there was a boat any more.
That first time she met Blaikie Noble on the street she had made a point of not being taken aback. He was wearing a creamy suit and his hair, that had always been bleached by the sun, was bleached for good now, white.
"Blaikie. I knew either it was you or a vanilla ice-cream cone. I bet you don't know who I am."
"You're Et Desmond and the only thing different about you is you cut off your braids." He kissed her forehead, nervy as always.
"So you're back visiting old haunts," said Et, wondering who had seen that.
"Not visiting. Haunting." He told her then how he had got wind of the hotel opening up again, and how he had been doing this sort of thing, driving tour buses, in various places, in Florida and Banff. And when she asked he told her about his two wives. He never asked was she married, taking for granted she wasn't. He never asked if Char was, till she told him.


Et remembered the first time she understood that Char was beautiful. She was looking at a picture taken of them, of Char and herself and their brother who was drowned. Et was ten in the picture, Char fourteen and Sandy seven, just a couple of weeks short of all he would ever be. Et was sitting in an armless chair and Char was behind her, arms folded on the chair-back, with Sandy in his sailor suit cross-legged on the floor--or marble terrace, you would think, with the effect made by what had been nothing but a dusty, yellowing screen, but came out in the picture a pillar and draped curtain, a scene of receding poplars and fountains. Char had pinned her front hair up for the picture and was wearing a bright blue, ankle-length silk dress--of course the color did not show--with complicated black velvet piping. She was smiling slightly, with great composure. She could have been eighteen, she could have been twenty-two. Her beauty was not of the fleshy timid sort most often featured on calendars and cigar boxes of the period, but was sharp and delicate, intolerant, challenging.
Et took a long look at this picture and then went and looked at Char, who was in the kitchen. It was washday. The woman who came to help was pulling clothes through the wringer, and their mother was sitting down resting and staring through the screen door (she never got over Sandy, nobody expected her to). Char was starching their father's collars. He had a tobacco and candy store on the Square and wore a fresh collar every day. Et was prepared to find that some metamorp...

Revue de presse

“Munro, the hugely gifted chronicler, is fast becoming one of the world’s great totemic writers. . . . Each short story is a mansion of many rooms.” –The New York Times Book Review

“How honest and how lovely. . . . A spellbinding tour through a world of love, menace and surprise. . . . [Munro] is a writer of enormous gifts and perception.” –Los Angeles Times

“Wonderful. . . . A sheer pleasure.” –Seattle Post-Intelligencer

“A rich exploration of womanhood. . . . A more supple, honest, sensitive and sympathetic imagination would be hard to find among writers of fiction today.” –Ms.

“Masterful . . . proves beyond question Alice Munro’s trenchant ability to capture the essence of personality in the vagaries of human impulses. . . . It is hard to imagine a perception more acute.” –Houston Post

Praise from fellow writers:

“Her work felt revolutionary when I came to it, and it still does.” —Jhumpa Lahiri

“She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion.” —Jonthan Franzen

“The authority she brings to the page is just lovely.” —Elizabeth Strout

“She’s the most savage writer I’ve ever read, also the most tender, the most honest, the most perceptive.” —Jeffery Eugenides

“Alice Munro can move characters through time in a way that no other writer can.”—Julian Barnes

“She is a short-story writer who…reimagined what a story can do.” —Loorie Moore

“There’s probably no one alive who’s better at the craft of the short story.” —Jim Shepard

“A true master of the form.” —Salman Rushdie

“A wonderful writer.” —Joyce Carol Oates

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Amazon.com: 4.2 étoiles sur 5  60 commentaires
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Munro at the top of her game 29 novembre 2006
Par Steven W. Mccornack - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché
Why has this woman never won the Booker prize? These short stories are as wonderful as any by Atwood, McEwan, or Chekhov. I finished each of these stories and wondered why the title of that story wasn't selected for the title of this collection. I must warn you, you will keep right on reading "just one more" until that sinking realization that you just read the last one makes you jump up to log on to Amazon and order another Munro title!
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Simply the best! 30 mars 2013
Par Marcus Givhan - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
I just discovered Alice Munroe about 6 months ago and now I read everything I can get my hands on! She is the master of the short story. These stories really stay with you long after reading.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Munro is one of the best of our contemporary writers 29 juin 2013
Par pamela gregg - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Broché|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Probably like you, I read - a lot. There is no doubt that Alice Munro is one of our best contemporary writers. I recently spent six weeks confined to a wheel chair. I re-read several of the Munro books and thought that I enjoyed them far more on the second reading than the first. That is always what is said about "the classics". The really great writers seem to get better with every re-reading. I hope that I can live long enough to re-read Munro's books for the third and fourth and fifth time. She is a very gifted writer.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 Munro never fails to please 20 septembre 2010
Par RUHU - Publié sur Amazon.com
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As usual, Munro's writing creates worlds inside of worlds through the use of the simple, every day encounters and objects we all have.
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5.0 étoiles sur 5 extraordinary 5 septembre 2013
Par Fany Finkelman - Publié sur Amazon.com
Format:Format Kindle|Achat authentifié par Amazon
Interesting style, impeccable, stories that won't let you breath till you finish them, and won't let you down. Unexpected endings. All in all, highly recommended.
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