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Russell Banks

Russell Banks is the author of over a dozen works of fiction, including Affliction (Harper & Row, 1989), The Sweet Hereafter (HarperCollins, 1991), and Cloudsplitter (HarperCollins, 1998). His awards include the Ingram Merrill Award, the John Dos Passos Award, and the Literature Award from the American Academy of Arts and Letters.


An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

There is nothing exotic or off-putting in the opening paragraph or two of an Alice Munro story. The author puts her hand on your shoulder and invites you into her fictional world. She is friendly, and there is a neighborly quality to her narrative prose. She starts in a small place and universalizes characters and lives that we might otherwise overlook. It is as if you are sitting at a table, and she’s going to tell you a story of what happened a while back, down the street. Her intimate tone is interesting and immediate, and she is relaxed, calm, even inactive, almost seductive. Then, once you are in this fictional world, it becomes more threatening.