Alice Munro

How is it that I have never before read Alice Munro? How is it possible that I have missed such awe inspiring brilliance? I am stumped. Baffled. I feel as though I have suddenly discovered all that I am lacking in my appreciation of literature, of texts in general. What else am I missing out on? I shudder to think!

Alice Munro and short stories to boot (you will recall that this is my least favorite genre)!

“When she realized what was in her head, she should have got off the bus. She could have got off even at the gates, with the few other women who plodded up the drive. She could have crossed the road and waited for a bus back to the city. Probably some people did that. They were going to make a visit and then decided not to. People probably did that all the time.
But maybe it was better that she had gone on, and seen him so strange and wasted. Not a person worth blaming for anything. Not a person. He was like a character in a dream.
She had dreams. In one dream she had run out of the house after finding them, and Lloyd had started to laugh in his old easy way, and then she had heard Sasha laughing behind her and it had dawned on her, wonderfully, that they were all playing a joke.”

In this first story of her collection Too Much Happiness, Munro has carved a fluid, simple and wonderfully vivid and intense narrative without being overwhelming. She has danced around this story in a way that clearly indicates her skill and alacrity. She is subtle with a sense of integrity or perhaps, even, innocence or naïveté?

Clearly, Munro’s ability to manipulate the flow and style of this genre sets her apart from so many other short story writers who have, in the past, so defined this genre for me.

Am I allowed to confess that I possibly enjoy Munro more than Woolf in this genre?

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4 responses to “Alice Munro

  1. Yes, you are. I was away in May and early June so missed this post. I haven’t read this collection (though it’s in my TBR) but I like Munro a lot and am always happy to read her. She can really convey fine nuances in behaviour.

  2. Oops, meant to ask, did you have a favourite in the collection?

  3. I loved the opening story, Dimensions. Very striking and plain yet austere. I’m not sure how else to describe it …The story Free Radicals (you can read it here: http://www.newyorker.com/fiction/features/2008/02/11/080211fi_fiction_munro) was also very interesting.
    By far the most disturbing story is Wenlock Edge. This one really left me thinking – about soooo many things!! (You can read it here: http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2005/12/05/051205fi_fiction).
    These were my favourites.

  4. Ah, thanks for responding. I have read (and reviewed) Dimensions. Tight little story. I’ll try to read the others – I have the book but read Dimensions from an online source before I got the book. I like to read short stories every now and then.

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