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Written and performed by Alice Munro Toronto, McClelland & Stewart, 1990. Two 90-minute audiocassettes, $19.95, ISBN 0-7710-6696-1. (Audio Encore series).

Grades 10 and up/Ages 15 and up

Reviewed by Joanne K. A. Peters

Volume 18 Number 5
1990 September

“Talking books" may have their fans and their foes, but despite the misgivings some have about translating printed text to tape, there is an undeniably compelling element to a story well told.

Alice Munro is a wonderful teller of tales, and in this pair of cassettes she reads three of the stories from her Governor General's Award winning collection of 1986, The Progress of Love. The authenticity of any tale often emerges through the asides and apparent digressions the teller includes. As one listens to Munro's reading, the sense of intimacy, of really being part of a conversation between author and reader, is, in some ways, even stronger than in the print version.

Never stagy or contrived, Munro's reading nonetheless conveys a solid sense of the different voices of her characters, and her voice is pleasant and clear. She does not often give public readings, and this collection is therefore a rare treat. If you are a fan of Munro, you will undoubtedly enjoy this two-cassette package, and it makes an excellent gift for a traveller, a shut-in, or someone who just wants to "veg" out on the summer (or winter holiday) sands.

Students often benefit from hearing an author read his or her own work, and this might be a worthwhile complement for schools already owning the print copy of The Progress of Love. However, because only three of the stories (all of which are quite long in text form) are included on this tape collection, school librarians might wish to put their money into the print version first.

Joanne K. A. Peters, Sister High School, Winnipeg, Man.

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