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Open Secrets by Alice Munro - Page 2

post #21 of 42
Thread Starter 
They could! But I do like them just where they are

I've read the Albanian Virgin and loved it!


Back to ARL for a moment. Isn't it revealing about Millicent's character and values how she speculates Mr. Speirs fell in love with Dorrie. (eg, how she uses her knife and fork, her handwriting...) She just doesn't see Dorrie's depth of character. Funny how friendships can be?


YAY!!! We're on page 2!
I hope more join us!
post #22 of 42
That is funny about Millicent when obviously Spiers fell for Dorrie's handiness with guns and traps, not knives and forks!

So, "The Albanian Virgin" eh? My first and perhaps strongest impression is that I found "The Franciscan" and his relationship with "Lottar" very sexy! But the relationship between Ghurdi (my spelling is probably wrong but my book is not to hand) and Charlotte disappointed me a bit although I'm delighted they stayed together. Is that just an age thing maybe? It bothered me that he was trying to sell his Crucifix when he used to be such a fanatic. But of course he might have had to renounce his faith, as he must have given up his priesthood, to be with her.

Also the funniest scene in the volume so far I thought when both of them are talking to Claire at once during the dinner.

What are your first impressions?
post #23 of 42
Thread Starter 
Very sexy, yes and quite romantic that they stayed together. Why did their later relationship disappoint you? I really liked how she appeared to become the dominant force in the relationship.
i need to go back and reread the part about the crucifix...I didn't remember it that way.
This short story has very much the feel of a sweeping epic. It really would make a great movie. Visually it has a lot going on as well. I especially enjoyed the description when Lottar was being prepared to be sold.
post #24 of 42
Thread Starter 
I'm also enjoying the theme running through the stories so far of independant women, going out on their own.
post #25 of 42
Thread Starter 
aaahhhhhh the crucifix....
I'd like to explore this more.
I love how the Franciscan pushes it on to Lottar in the beginning and that action is repeated again when Ghurji pushes it into Claires hand but she pushes it back.
What do you think the significance of this is between the three characters?
post #26 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
Very sexy, yes and quite romantic that they stayed together. Why did their later relationship disappoint you? I really liked how she appeared to become the dominant force in the relationship.
i need to go back and reread the part about the crucifix...I didn't remember it that way.
This short story has very much the feel of a sweeping epic. It really would make a great movie. Visually it has a lot going on as well. I especially enjoyed the description when Lottar was being prepared to be sold.

Oh dear, what does it say about me that her dominance is what disappoints me? (I'm not sure I want to know the answer to that question!) He just seems so . . . tamed. Yes, the story is quite "movie-like." The other stories move about in time; this one moves about in space and time. And Munro is brilliant at making her stories visual and making it seem so easy.
post #27 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by BaBaBa View Post
aaahhhhhh the crucifix....
I'd like to explore this more.
I love how the Franciscan pushes it on to Lottar in the beginning and that action is repeated again when Ghurji pushes it into Claires hand but she pushes it back.
What do you think the significance of this is between the three characters?

What a great question, but I warn you--you've awoken my inner lapsed-Catholic nerd by asking it.

The Crucifix symbolizes salvation through suffering. Lottar is saved from a boring, conventional life through the suffering of her abduction by the tribe and later by the Franciscan. Claire saves herself from a boring, conventional life through her affair and her leaving both men--she kind of abducts herself, doesn't she? Her refusal could be because she refuses to be saved by Nelson as Lottar is kind of saved by the Franciscan.

The Crucifix also represents the Passion as in suffering, but the word "passion" evokes other meanings. Lots of sexual passion in this story!

Also the Crucifix invites us to die to our old selves, which both women do.

I like the Catholic stuff a lot actually. Both women become nun-like for a period. Lottar's hair is cut like a nun's would be and she is called the Virgin. Claire retreats to her cell-like bookshop. But in both cases it's only temporary . . .
post #28 of 42
Thread Starter 
brilliant!
post #29 of 42
Thanks! But it was you who asked the pertinent question.

I have a question I can't come up with an answer for. Why does Charlotte say "That part is not of interest" and then give Claire that look of "vicious disgust"? What do you think that's all about?
post #30 of 42
Thread Starter 
sorry I've been AWOL recently.
I'm still plugging along but haven't had much opportunity to post.
I'm going to go back and review to see if I can come up with any answers to your question.
post #31 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Murihiku View Post
Why does Charlotte say "That part is not of interest" and then give Claire that look of "vicious disgust"? What do you think that's all about?
hmmm.....she really does not want to talk about life after her 'rescue'. Or her romance with Ghurdji?

maybe she's sorry for her post - Albania life...?
post #32 of 42
Yeah, maybe her Albanian adventure was the high point of her life. It certainly seems the high point of the story.

Shall we move on to "Open Secrets" or would you like to take a break for a while, maybe start again in January?
post #33 of 42
Thread Starter 
Life has stabilized for me now.

I'd be happy to continue or wait. I'd probably prefer to continue. What's your preference?

I'd like to apologize again for leaving you a bit high and dry there for a bit.

It's hard when there's just the two of us. It would be easier with more of us to share. Sometimes, life just gets in the way of our personal interests.


About Charlotte..... how could you ever really return to a normal life after an adventure like that? She must find her post Albania existence terribly tiresome.
post #34 of 42
Sorry, I didn't see your post for a while!

I'd love to proceed because the title story is so freakin' awesome.

(Look at me, using the cool lingo.)

Glad to hear your life has stabilized--hope that doesn't mean it was rocky for a while.

So, what do you think of "Open Secrets" the story? I'm off to re-read it now . . .
post #35 of 42
Thread Starter 
:
what is the title referring to? I think it ties in to the last sentence which makes me think about Maureen's relationship with her husband but does that really make sense given the subject of the story? Is the killer revealed and I missed it?
I doubt it's Mr. Siddicup. That would be way too obvious for a writer of Munro's skill. He serves as an effective distraction though.
I can't help feeling that we're meant to direct suspicion at Lawyer Stephens by how Munro sketches him as somewhat of a sexual deviant but I can't find any evidence in the text.
The title is refers to Maureens knowledge. Does she know the killer? Or is it referring to that 'memory'?
post #36 of 42
Hi there!
"Open Secrets" intriques me--wondering if I could join your discussion for a bit.

I have always felt I was missing something when I read this story.
post #37 of 42
I didn't find the text made it clear who the killer was either. And yet I felt my suspicion directed toward Theo Slater. I wonder if that is the point of the title? You feel some vague intuition, but there is no direct evidence--hence, kind of an "open secret" for the reader. ?
post #38 of 42
Nillamama, you are extremely welcome!

Every time I read the story, I think it's Theo Slater. His is the hand Maureen sees being punished, by his wife. And his name is kind of an "open secret" because Theo Slater sounds like Theo Slayed Her.

It's not Mr Siddicup, I'm sure.

But it could be Maureen's husband who we know is capable of sexual violence and what sounds like a bit of a psychotic break. Maybe the hand she sees is his, punished by her hand, but she denies her own knowledge to interpret it as Theo's and Marian's hands? Is Maureen a wee bit psychic or is she suffering from post-traumatic-stress-disorder?

I also think it's Theo because he's the only man we see having had prior knowledge of Heather--when they wrestle for the hose during the stop at the farm.
post #39 of 42
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by nillamama View Post
Hi there!
"Open Secrets" intriques me--wondering if I could join your discussion for a bit.

have you read the rest of the stories too?

Quote:
Originally Posted by nillamama View Post
I didn't find the text made it clear who the killer was either. And yet I felt my suspicion directed toward Theo Slater. I wonder if that is the point of the title? You feel some vague intuition, but there is no direct evidence--hence, kind of an "open secret" for the reader. ?

he never even occurred to me! I am awful with mysteries


Quote:
Originally Posted by Murihiku View Post

Every time I read the story, I think it's Theo Slater. His is the hand Maureen sees being punished, by his wife. And his name is kind of an "open secret" because Theo Slater sounds like Theo Slayed Her.

It's not Mr Siddicup, I'm sure.

But it could be Maureen's husband who we know is capable of sexual violence and what sounds like a bit of a psychotic break. Maybe the hand she sees is his, punished by her hand, but she denies her own knowledge to interpret it as Theo's and Marian's hands? Is Maureen a wee bit psychic or is she suffering from post-traumatic-stress-disorder?

I also think it's Theo because he's the only man we see having had prior knowledge of Heather--when they wrestle for the hose during the stop at the farm.
Brilliant!
Yes you're right but i need to reread....'the hand Maureen sees being punished by his wife'? i didn't get that. I was confused by Maureen's visions. you think Mrs. Slater knows he did it? That fits seeing as they saw a lawyer instead of going to the police which is...odd.
I appreciate your insight into Maureen. I can't figure her out. I can't help finding her a bit pathetic in her submissions to her husband. How does she deal with that?
But you've convinced me that it was Munro's intention to write a 'mystery'. Now that you mention it, the 'Theo slayed her' is a dead give away.
I can't believe I missed that :
post #40 of 42
Whoa, sorry I dropped the ball there! Do you want to resume in the New Year, or are we ready to close the secrets for now?

About "Theo Slayter/Slayed Her"--although I've read the story several times over the years, it was only as I sat down to post my comment above that the pun occurred to me, so I don't know how obvious it is. I wonder if Munro would say it was deliberate, or whether it's just one of those textual complexities out of conscious authorial intention--and do you think it matters?

Interesting connections between Mr Siddicup and Maureen's husband--they both lose some ability to communicate, and both have some weird and dark stuff in their relationship with their wives, Mr. S with her underwear(!) and the lawyer with the rape-like sex. There's a phrase I never thought I would see myself write!
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