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The International Writers Magazine: Short Story Review

Review of Alice Munro’s short story 'Face'
• Michelle D'costa
It is a story from which you cannot even take your eyes off for a second. Every line demands your attention. 


Alice Munro casts a spell on her readers that you just have to read or rather listen intently as if she’s narrating it to you from a sofa opposite you with the sound and warmth of crackling fire between you’ll yet giving you goosebumps. 

This story is based on a child who’s life is defined by his face. The birthmark covering his face. And how for a mother her child is always beautiful no matter what. 

The protagonist’s mother says this, “It makes the white of that eye look so lovely and clear”

The story is very realistic and shows how a child has the power to bring his parents together and can also cause a rift between them.  I was intrigued by the theme of the story as I myself write about such topics and how a person’s appearance affects his life. How much importance our society pays to external beauty etc.

What I did not expect in this story was a very normal relationship the protagonist has with a girl of his age. It made me realize Yes, he could have a normal life despite his birthmark. 

His liking for his job on National Radio just shows how he tries to find solace in something where he need not be judged based on his looks. He had an identity based on his voice.

When he talks about his girlfriends he is only trying to say how people are extra kind to different looking people just so that they will be looked at as being munificent.

When he meets someone with a disability he says this and this is my favourite line, ‘You would think that such people would make common cause, but it just as often happens that they don’t. Each may be reminded by the other of something he’d sooner forget.’

The character Sharon Suttles is quite interesting.

But the climax was just phenomenal. But her act was misunderstood. And that was the end of their friendship. Can an incident really determine the rest of your life?

Could your life have turned out to be totally different if an incident just turned out differently?

A Must Read.
Read FACE here

© Michelle D’costa 2014
 pikoomish at

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