Alice Munro has been one of my favorite short story writers yet this story–while very compelling a topic–was not as brilliantly executed as what I’ve read of hers before.
The subject is of course very touchy; an older man seduces and marries a young girl, keeps her under his thumb and pregnant, his overbearing nature pushes her to the edge one day and she walks out in an argument only to return to find that he has killed their three children.
Munro has excelled at stories that delve into the many sides of human nature to discover and reveal what we exhibit as normal behavior and what influences and allows for variance, or deviance perhaps. What Munro is most interested seems to be the aftermath of violence. What happens to Doree, the wife and mother, how is she going to handle the horror and will she be able to cope with life; and her husband, Lloyd…how will he justify to himself the murdering of his children?
Munro finds the logical resolution as the two cling to each other, the only two people who could possibly understand what they’ve been through.
While the writing is not really a standout, the story is compellling in its subject and its handling and presentation.