> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 November 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099524298
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $22.99

Too Much Happiness

A brilliant, compelling new collection from one of the world's greatest living short-story writers, and winner of the Man Booker International Prize 2009.

A wife and mother, whose spirit has been crushed, finds release from her extraordinary pain in the most unlikely place. The young victim of a humiliating seduction (which involves reading Housman in the nude) finds an unusual way to get her own back and move on. An older woman, dying of cancer, weaves a poisonous story to save her life. Other stories uncover the ‘deep holes’ in marriage and their consequences, the dangerous intimacy of girls and the cruelty of children. The long title story follows Sophia Kovalevsky, a late nineteenth-century Russian emigree and mathematical genius, as she takes a fateful winter journey that begins with a visit to her lover on the Riviera, and ends in Sweden, where she is a professor at the only university willing to hire a woman to teach her subject.

Alice Munro takes on complex, even harrowing emotions and events, and renders them into stories that surprise, amaze and shed light on the unpredictable ways we accommodate to what happens in our lives.

  • Pub date: 1 November 2010
  • ISBN: 9780099524298
  • Imprint: Vintage
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $22.99

Also by Alice Munro

See all

Praise for Too Much Happiness

“Some of the most honest, intuitive and exacting fiction, long or short, of our time”

Tom Gatti, The Times

“Munro's bold, unflinching narratives have taken the short story places many a novelist has feared to tread... That she does this in a style both calm and deliberate, fluid yet tightly controlled, stark yet compassionate, is what makes her insights into the human condition so profound. And shocking... this long short story has the scope and weight of a Dostoyevsky novel”

Mary Crockett, Scotsman

“Written with veteran assurance, brimming with intensely believable characters and rich social detail, these dispatches from the most unsparing reaches of Munro's imagination confirm her acclaimed place on the highest ground of contemporary fiction”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times

“Alice Munro commands enormous respect and almost uncritical adoration from her readers”

Elaine Showalter, Literary Review

“Too Much Happiness is her 11th collection, and as brilliant and surprising as any ... who could be better?”

Claire Harman, Evening Standard

“She has the lightest of touches, with every word seeming entirely necessary, but nothing set in stone....remarkable collection”

Lorna Bradbury, Daily Telegraph

“Munro is famously hard to write about, in part because she's the opposite of the Borges character who joked about belonging not to art but to the history of art. Far from hanging on to the gates of literature, her stories create a powerful illusion of bringing their readers up against unmediated life; and life isn't penetrable by the normal procedures of book reviewing. Is Too Much Happiness as substantial a collection as Runaway (2004) or Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001)? The only sensible answer is to recommend buying all three”

Christopher Tayler, The Guardian

“As strong and vivid as ever... a gift for the humane observation and the specific, plausible detail”

Philip Hensher, Spectator

“Assured collection from the short-story queen”

Sunday Times

“Munro adroitly peels away her characters' layers...Too Much Happiness certainly does nothing to suggest any waning of powers as Munro closes in on her ninth decade”

Kieron Corless, Financial Times

“Intricately layered short stories interrogating the very art of storytelling”

The Times

“These are stories that mirror reality - in all its erratic unpredictability - so convincingly that you can almost forget the skill with which they are created. Artful indeed”

Amber Pearson, Daily Mail

“[Munro's] sharp prose gives the impression of effortlessness but whose impact packs a jolting punch”


“Wonderful new collection”

Amit Chaudhuri, Independent

“This is a remarkable collection...and makes a lasting impression”

Books Quarterly

“Buy her latest book...and see what all the fuss is about”

Amber Pearson, Daily Mail

“As dark and funny as she was when she started writing short stories nearly 60 years ago”

The Economist

“Another treasure-trove from perhaps the greatest living short story writer”

Alan Spence, The Scotsman Books of the Year

“Her latest collection of stories - sharp, poignant, emotionally unresolved - is a reminder of why she is considered the unrivalled queen of the short form”

Angel Gurria-Quintana, Financial Times, Fiction books of the year

“Finesse that misses no psychological or social nuance”

Peter Kemp, The Sunday Times Christmas pick

“These wonderful stories encompass whole lives in just a few pages: sad lives that are described with the lightest of touches”

Daily Telegraph

“These ten short stories, so simple in the telling, so rich in texture, are pure Munro”

Sally Cousins, Sunday Telegraph

“Alice Munro makes every word count. In this collection of short stories she perfectly encapsulates the effects that relationships can have on the heart...each story is as consuming and captivating as the next. A fantastic collection you will want to read in one sitting”

Daily Express

“...this collection shows that she can still surprise...By shifting the focus of stories away from the predictable, Munro keeps readers on their toes.”

The Herald

“I find more wisdom in one Alice Munroe short story than in many novels a hundred times longer”

Mariella Frostrup, Easy Living

“Munro offers another master class in short story writing with this wonderful collection of thought-provoking and harrowing tales”

Stella Loves, Sunday Telegraph

“Written with veteran assurance and a finesse that misses no psychological or social nuance, is as packed as a compressed novel.”

Peter Kemp, Sunday Times Culture Magazine

“...beautifully written with fascinating details...”

Christina Koning, The Times

“The stories in this collection surprise, amaze and illuminate the ways in which we accommodate the events of our lives. A gem of a book, which you'll savour”

Elizabeth Dare & Ella Johnston, Cath Kidston magazine

“Each story is marked by deceptively simple prose concealing layers of complexity that built to often unexpected conclusions...journeys...that go straight to the heart of the contradictions that make human beings what we are”

Freya McClements, Irish Times

“She writes with a beautiful, mathematical clarity, an elemental humanity and a marvellous, limpid, funny, apprehension of what goes on”

Jane Shilling, Sunday Telegraph

Related titles