Open Secrets

by Alice Munro

Hardcover, 1994

Call number





Alfred A. Knopf (1994), Edition: 1st, 293 pages


Eight stories whose protagonists are women. The story, Carried Away, is on a librarian's romance with a World War I soldier who on his return marries another. The soldier is killed in a factory accident and the librarian marries the factory owner. Another story, An Albanian Virgin, is on a bag lady kidnaped by tribesmen in her youth. By the author of Friend of My Youth.

User reviews

LibraryThing member librarianshannon
Alice Munro was one of those author's whose name I kept hearing and seeing and yet I never seemed to read. I finally picked up Open Secrets and am now desperate to collect her other stories and novels. Though definitely geared toward women-readers, as all the stories in this collection include women and girls as main characters, anyone who enjoys someone like Margaret Atwood or Jane Hamilton will enjoy Munro.… (more)
LibraryThing member rhondagrantham
Here are the things I love about these short stories. Munro’s scope: the stories can span extensive time periods; her juxtaposition of exotic locations with small-town Canada; her use of different forms, such as letters; and the variety of excellently defined characters.

The stories are usually set in small-town Ontario, with some of the some characters popping up in different stories, seen from skewed angles. The jigsaw is probably an overused metaphor, but I have to use it, because I love them. Her book is a jigsaw puzzle with a lake, reflecting back a dark forest and a multiplicity of houses, shops and figures. Her puzzle is missing some pieces, which allows my imagination to try and stamp in the misshapen bits of my own understanding.

These stories gave me the stomach pit feeling of anticipation and fear, that I associate with the break neck adventures of youth. Including characters both youthful and old gives me hope that I will continue to experience that feeling.

The language is just right. It doesn’t show off, but it’s so very very good. My favourite phrase was “secret capability” in Spaceships have landed, it was used to describe the abilities of a woman the main character believed to be small town prostitute.
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LibraryThing member isabelx
At the beginning of the month I read "Friend of My Youth", another book of short stories by this Canadian author. I enjoyed the stories in "Open Secrets" all the more because they were slightly more upbeat, with some of the characters managing to find some happiness in their lives.

A lot of the stories in both books are set in the Ontario towns of Walley and Carstairs, and members of the same families turn up in stories set decades apart, which helps to draw you into their world. My favourites were "A Real Life" and "A Wilderness Station".… (more)
LibraryThing member briannad84
I'm definately going to have to get me some of Munro's books! I loved this one too, except that the last story I found to be a bit dull.
LibraryThing member mahallett
i enjoyed this one less than others. stories were very long and i had trouble remembering where i was.
LibraryThing member LisaMorr
A collection of short stories set mainly in Ontario that are somewhat inter-related. I liked it.

My favorite story was The Albanian Virgin, two stories in one actually, one about a woman kidnapped in Albania and forced to live amongst a tribe, and the other about a woman running a bookstore - a woman she knows tells her the kidnap story from her hospital bed.… (more)




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