Five Short Stories–Alice Munro’s “Runaway”

Course NameLocationDurationDateTime


In response to requests I am featuring another of Alice Munro’s short stories.

This is “Runaway” the title story of her collection published in 2004, a story both poignant and sharp, narrated in her economical and crystal clear style. As usual Munro depicts a broad canvas of emotions in this deceptively straightforward narrative.

Carla is a young woman who attempts to leave her abusive bad boy husband. The story also features Flora, a lost goat, who symbolizes love and freedom.


“How is your little goat? I forgot her name”

Carla said “Flora”.


“She’s gone”.

“Gone? Did you sell her?”

“She’s disappeared. We don’t know where.”

“Oh, I’m sorry. I’m sorry. But isn’t there a chance she’ll turn up again?”

No answer. Sylvia looked directly at the girl, something that up to now she had not quite been able to do, and saw that her eyes were full of tears, her face blotchy – in fact it looked grubby – and that she seemed bloated with distress.

She didn’t do anything to avoid Sylvia’s look. She drew her lips tight over her teeth and shut her eyes and rocked back and forth as if in a soundless howl, and then, shockingly, she did howl.

Come join me to discuss “Runaway” on Tuesday 3 October at Waterstones Mezzanine Piccadilly from 6:30 pm to 8:30 pm as part of the Short Story Series.  —Carol Martin-Sperry