Monday, June 20, 2005

THERE'S SOMETHING ABOUT ... ALICE MUNRO

COULDN’T resist buying a couple of short-story collections by Alice Munro, possibly one of the most inventive short-story writers in the world. Generational conflict, marital brouhahas and divorce, and youthful alienation in small-town Canada, big-town Canada and places in-between are the recurrent thematic threads that bind the fabric of her narratives. “In the past decade,” according to Michael Upchurch, “her tales have become evermore ingenious, growing dizzyingly elastic in structure and complex in tone, without losing any of their immediacy. It also helps that Munro is the slyest of humorists.” Munro is very good at evoking a sense of place and her psychological acuity is razor-sharp.

The Love of a Good Woman (1998) / Alice Munro
Selected Stories (1996) / Alice Munro
Open Secrets (1994) / Alice Munro
Friend of My Youth (1990) / Alice Munro

Alice Munro’s short stories are written to last. And the quality of her writing rarely flags. For those new to Munro, I suggest you read Runaway (2004), Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001), Open Secrets (1994) and Lives of Girls and Women (1971). These, I believe, are her masterpieces.

Bibliography
MUNRO Alice [1931-] Short-story writer. Born Alice Anne Laidlaw in Wingham, Ontario, Canada. Stories The View from Castle Rock (2006); Runaway (2004: winner of the 2004 Giller Prize for Fiction and the 2005 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, Caribbean and Canada Region; shortlisted for the 2004 Governor General’s Award for Fiction); Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001: winner of the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best Book, Caribbean & Canada); The Love of a Good Woman (1998: winner of the 1998 National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction and the 1998 Giller Prize for Fiction; co-winner of the 1998 Trillium Book Award for Fiction); Selected Stories (1996); Open Secrets (1994: winner of the 1995 W.H. Smith Literary Award); Friend of My Youth (1990: winner of the 1990 Trillium Book Award for Fiction and the Canada Council Molson Prize); The Progress of Love (1986: winner of the 1986 Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Marian Engel Prize); The Moons of Jupiter (1982); The Beggar Maid (published in Canada as Who Do You Think You Are? (1978: winner of the 1978 Governor General’s Award for Fiction; shortlisted for the 1980 Booker Prize for Fiction); Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You (1974); Lives of Girls and Women (1971); Dance of the Happy Shades (1968: winner of the 1968 Governor General’s Award for Fiction)

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