The Newest New Yorker Story

It's "Amundsen," by Alice Munro and I haven't read it all the way through yet, though I did skip to the end and guess what? They don't end up together. Many of her short stories are these cataloging of relationships--how people fall in love, how they break up--and they're usually set in another time period. I wish I could tell stories like that. I am trying to figure out what could be wrong for this character I'm working on--but also, what's her story? Like, what is the story about? I've been reading a lot of literary crime (MUST clarify that it's literary, b/c I'm such a book snot and wouldn't want you to think it was, like, V.C. Andrews), and in crime stories, there's a clear search---must find the killer, must discover a motive. In the thing I"m working on, I can't figure out what the general plot is, which is kind of a problem The character's job is interesting and all that, but who cares if she doesn't want something or if she isn't on a quest of some kind? Must be interesting, must be purposeful, must be significant. I don't have it yet.

Here's two descriptions/snippets I love from the Munro story:

Matron herself was short and stout, pink-faced, with rimless glasses and heavy breathing. Whatever you asked for seemed to astonish her and cause difficulties, but eventually it was seen to or provided." 


"I said I hadn't come into town for fear of meeting Mary.

 'Because of missing her concert.'

 'That's if you're going to arrange your life to suit Mary.' "

And here's a picture of sled dogs in Amundsen, Alaska taken from the National Geographic site.