Haven – Alice Munro
From the 2012 collection ‘Dear Life’.
Also (for a limited time) currently featured on BBC Radio 4
“Alice Munro needs no introduction as a short story writer. Her matter-of-fact approach to prose and detail is disarming initially but gradually reveals itself as a clever means to lead us through her stories. In ‘Haven’ she doesn’t judge a young girl’s idealistic view of her Aunt and Uncle’s relationship. She lets us do that.
The young girl is living / staying with her relatives. They seem so alien to her own family that instantly she is drawn to the manner of their relationship – the orderliness; the neat and tidy understanding; the happiness of her Aunt. Gradually we realise the cost by which this imagined happiness has arrived: An unflinching commitment and love for her husband covers the underlining malice of a very one-sided relationship.
The magic in this tale is the innocent eyes of the narrator who looks upon the scene with such simple appreciation, we want to scream for her to grow up and see what’s happening for real. She, however, can’t be blamed, she’s too young to understand. The Aunt, on the other hand, is a fully grown woman and her betrayal is so plain and painful for us to watch.”
The SHORT TALE Review 2016