** The Beggar Maid by Alice Munro


The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose is presented as a set of stories but I think would just as well qualify as a novel. The heroine, Rose, is an orphan brought up by her stepmother, Flo, who will escape her small town and her modest upbringing thanks to her brain and hard work. The author writes brilliantly about Rose’s feelings never fitting in fully, whether with her new, successful peers with their easy and moneyed childhoods or with the family she left behind, and her essential loneliness, hanging between the two worlds. The overall melancholy dragged me down, a bit.

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