In her lengthy and fascinating introduction Margaret Atwood says Alice Munro is among the major writers of English fiction of our time. . . . Among writers themselves, her name is spoken in hushed tones. This splendid gift edition is sure to delight Alice Munro's growing body of admirers, what Atwood calls her devoted international readership. Long-time fans of her stories will enjoy meeting old favourites, where their new setting in this book may reveal new sides to what once seemed a familiar story; devoted followers may even dispute the exclusion of a specially-beloved story. Readers lucky enough to have found her recently will be delighted, as one masterpiece succeeds another. The 17 stories are carefully arranged in the order in which she wrote them, which allows us to follow the development of her range. A Wilderness Station, for example, breaks short story rules by taking us right back to the 1830s then jumping forward more than 100 years. The Albanian Virgin destroys the idea that her stories are set in B.C. or in Ontario's Alice Munro Country. And The Bear Came Over the Mountain, the story behind the film Away From Her, takes us far from the world of young girls learning about sex into unflinching old age. This is a book to read slowly, savouring each story. It deserves a place in every Canadian book-lover's library.