Catalogue


The view from Castle Rock [sound recording] : [stories] /
Alice Munro.
imprint
New York : Random House Audio, p2006.
description
5 sound discs (6 hr.) : digital ; 4 3/4 in.
ISBN
0739339818 (container), 9780739339817 (container)
format(s)
CD
Holdings
More Details
author
added author
imprint
New York : Random House Audio, p2006.
isbn
0739339818 (container)
9780739339817 (container)
publisher #
RHCD 1040
general note
Subtitle from container.
Unabridged.
performer
Read by Kimberly Farr.
abstract
A collections of stories about the Laidlaw family starting in the wilds of the Scottish Borders, their voyage to Canada, to stories set in Alice (Laidlaw) Munro's present time.
catalogue key
9103140
technical details
Compact disc.
A Look Inside
Awards
This item was nominated for the following awards:
First Chapter
No Advantages

This parish possesses no advantages. Upon the hills the soil is in many places mossy and fit for nothing. The air in general is moist. This is occasioned by the height of the hills which continually attract the clouds and the vapour that is continually exhaled from the mossy ground . . . The nearest market town is fifteen miles away and the roads so deep as to be almost impassable. The snow also at times is a great inconvenience, often for many months we can have no intercourse with mankind. And a great disadvantage is the want of bridges so that the traveller is obstructed when the waters are swelled . . . Barley oats and potatoes are the only crops raised. Wheat rye turnips and cabbage are never attempted . . .

There are ten proprietors of land in this parish: none of them resides in it.

Contribution by the Minister of Ettrick Parish, in the county of Selkirk, to the Statistical Account of Scotland, 1799




The Ettrick Valley lies about fifty miles due south of Edinburgh, and thirty or so miles north of the English border, which runs close to the wall Hadrian built to keep out the wild people from the north. The Romans pushed farther, and built some sort of fortifications called Antonine's Wall between the Firth of Clyde and the Firth of Forth, but those did not last long. The land between the two walls has been occupied for a long time by a mix of people—Celtic people, some of whom came from Ireland and were actually called Scots, Anglo-Saxons from the south, Norse from across the North Sea, and possibly some leftover Picts as well.

The high stony farm where my family lived for some time in the Ettrick Valley was called Far-Hope. The wordhope, as used in the local geography, is an old word, a Norse word--Norse, Anglo-Saxon, and Gaelic words being all mixed up together in that part of the country, as you would expect, with some old Brythonic thrown in to indicate an early Welsh presence.Hopemeans a bay, not a bay filled with water but with land, partly enclosed by hills, which in this case are the high bare hills, the near mountains of the Southern Uplands. The Black Knowe, Bodesbeck Law, Ettrick Pen—there you have the three big hills, with the wordhillin three languages. Some of these hills are now being reforested, with plantations of Sitka spruce, but in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries they would have been bare, or mostly bare—the great Forest of Ettrick, the hunting grounds of the Kings of Scotland, having been cut down and turned into pasture or waste heath a century or two before.

The height of land above Far-Hope, which stands right at the end of the valley, is the spine of Scotland, marking the division of the waters that flow to the west into the Solway Firth and the Atlantic Ocean, from those that flow east into the North Sea. Within ten miles to the north is the country's most famous waterfall, the Grey Mare's Tail. Five miles from Moffat, which would be the market town to those living at the valley head, is the Devil's Beef Tub, a great cleft in the hills believed to be the hiding place for stolen cattle—English cattle, that is, taken by the reivers in the lawless sixteenth century. In the lower Ettrick Valley was Aikwood, the home of Michael Scott, the philosopher and wizard of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries, who appears in Dante'sInferno. And if that were not enough, William Wallace, the guerrilla hero of the Scots, is said to have hidden out here from the English, and there is a story of Merlin—Merlin—being hunted down and murdered, in the old forest, by Ettrick shepherds.

(As far as I know, my ancestors, generation after generation, were Ettrick shepherds. It may sound odd to have shepherds employed in a forest, but it seems that
Full Text Reviews
Appeared in Library Journal on 2006-10-01:
With this new collection, Munro (Runaway) more than lives up to her reputation as a master of short fiction. In 12 exquisitely constructed tales, she draws on family lore and letters to interpret the history of her Laidlaw relatives, a tough bunch from Scotland's Ettrick Valley that eventually emigrated to the New World. The title story, set in 1818, details a transatlantic voyage undertaken by six Laidlaws for whom ocean sailing is a totally new experience. Their struggles in adjusting to shipboard life anticipate challenges ahead in America as their fears and hopes culminate in the arrival of baby Isabel, all her life to be known as one "born at sea." In "No Advantages," a modern-day narrator's visit to Ettrick reveals what the family gained (and perhaps lost) by leaving the legend-haunted valley, while other stories explore how the harsh realities of wilderness pioneering affect several generations. All the narratives exhibit Munro's keen eye for realistic details and her ability to illuminate the depths of seemingly mundane lives and relationships. Highly recommended. Starr E. Smith, Fairfax Cty. P.L., VA (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Appeared in Publishers Weekly on 2006-09-25:
Ten collections of stories and one novel have made Alice Munro one of the most praised fiction writers of our time. In The View from Castle Rock her full range of gifts is on display: indelible characters, deep insights about human behavior and relationships, vibrant prose, and seductive, suspenseful storytelling. Munro, in a foreword, tells how, a decade ago, she began looking into her family history, going all the way back to 18th-century Scotland. This material eventually became the stories presented here in part 1, "No Advantages." Munro also worked on "a special set of stories," none of which she included in previous collections, because they were "rather more personal than the other stories I had written." They now appear here in part 2, "Home." With both parts, Munro says, she has had a free hand with invention. Munro has used personal material in her fiction before, but at 75, she has given us something much closer to autobiography. Much of the book concerns people who have died, and places and ways of life that no longer exist or have been completely transformed, and though Munro is temperamentally unsentimental the mood is often elegiac. One difficulty that can arise with this kind of hybrid work is that the reader is likely to be distracted by the itch to know whether an event really occurred, or how much has been made up or embellished. In the title story, the reader is explicitly told that almost everything has been invented, and this enthralling multilayered narrative about an early 19th-century Scottish family's voyage to the New World is the high point of the collection. On the other hand, "What Do You Want to Know For?" at the heart of which is an account of a cancer scare Munro experienced, reads like pure memoir and seems not only thin by comparison but insufficiently imagined as a short story. Perhaps none of the stories here is quite up to the mastery of earlier Munro stories such as "The Beggar Maid" or "The Albanian Virgin." But getting this close to the core of the girl who would become the master is a privilege and a pleasure not to be missed. And reliably as ever when the subject is human experience, Munro's stories-whatever the proportions of fiction and fact-always bring us the truth. (Nov.) Sigrid Nunez's most recent novel, The Last of Her Kind, will be published in paperback by Picador in December. (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Reviews
Review Quotes
Praise for The View From Castle Rock "Break[s] every rule ever taught in a writing seminar, setting up a master class along the sidelines . . . Yet it shows, as usual, how to draw gasps from other writers by defying the laws of gravitas as effortlessly as Michael Jordan defied those of gravity." Pico Iyer, Newsweek Magazine "Sublime . . . Late in her career, and late in life, Alice Munro seems unencumbered by the laurels heaped upon her. She continues to charge forward, shining a light on what is most fearsome and true." Jennifer Haigh, Chicago Tribune "In her astonishing new collection, Munro delves into the past . . . Result: a far-ranging, richly symphonic suite of stories that outshines even Munro's earlier masterworks." Michael Upchruch, The Seattle Times "Munro is the illusionist whose trick can never be exposed. And that is because there is no smoke, there are no mirrors. Munro really does know magic: how to summon the spirits and the emotions that animate our lives." Geraldine Brooks, the front page of The Washington Post Book World From the Hardcover edition.
Praise for The View From Castle Rock "Break[s] every rule ever taught in a writing seminar, setting up a master class along the sidelines . . . Yet it shows, as usual, how to draw gasps from other writers by defying the laws of gravitas as effortlessly as Michael Jordan defied those of gravity." Pico Iyer, Newsweek Magazine "Sublime . . . Late in her career, and late in life, Alice Munro seems unencumbered by the laurels heaped upon her. She continues to charge forward, shining a light on what is most fearsome and true." Jennifer Haigh, Chicago Tribune "In her astonishing new collection, Munro delves into the past . . . Result: a far-ranging, richly symphonic suite of stories that outshines even Munro's earlier masterworks." Michael Upchruch , The Seattle Times "Munro is the illusionist whose trick can never be exposed. And that is because there is no smoke, there are no mirrors. Munro really does know magic: how to summon the spirits and the emotions that animate our lives." Geraldine Brooks, the front page of The Washington Post Book World From the Hardcover edition.
This item was reviewed in:
Publishers Weekly,
Globe & Mail, September 2006
To find out how to look for other reviews, please see our guides to finding book reviews in the Sciences or Social Sciences and Humanities.
Summaries
Main Description
In stories that are more personal than any that she has written before, Alice Munro pieces her family history into gloriously imagined fiction. A young boy is taken to Edinburgh Castle Rock, where his father assures him that on a clear day he can see America, and he catches a glimpse of his father's dream. In stories that follow, as the dream becomes a reality, two sisters-in-law experience very different kinds of passion on the long voyage to the New World. Other stories take place in more familiar Munro territory, the towns and countryside around Lake Huron, where the past shows through the present like the traces of a glacier on the landscape, and strong emotions stir just beneath the surface of ordinary comings and goings. Evocative, gripping, sexy, unexpectedthese stories reflect a depth and richness of experience. The View from Castle Rock is a brilliant achievement from one of the finest writers of our time. From the Audio Download edition.
Main Description
In stories that are more personal than any that she has written before, Alice Munro pieces her family history into gloriously imagined fiction. A young boy is taken to Edinburgh Castle Rock, where his father assures him that on a clear day he can see America, and he catches a glimpse of his father's dream. In stories that follow, as the dream becomes a reality, two sisters-in-law experience very different kinds of passion on the long voyage to the New World. Other stories take place in more familiar Munro territory, the towns and countryside around Lake Huron, where the past shows through the present like the traces of a glacier on the landscape, and strong emotions stir just beneath the surface of ordinary comings and goings. Evocative, gripping, sexy, unexpectedthese stories reflect a depth and richness of experience. The View from Castle Rock is a brilliant achievement from one of the finest writers of our time.

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