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Daniel Menaker

Daniel Menaker worked for twenty-six years at The New Yorker, starting as a fact checker and copy editor before serving as senior editor for twenty years. He is currently the executive editor-in-chief at the Random House Publishing Group. He is the author of The Treatment (Knopf, 1998), The Old Left (Knopf, 1987), and Friends and Relations (Doubleday, 1976).


An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Summer 2006 | Essays

Editors are paraliteraries—like paralegals and paramedicals. Their job is to help the writer to get a piece of writing to be the best it could possibly be with the writer writing at her best all the way through. To work with Alice Munro poses special challenges and offers special rewards. The structure of a Munro story works somewhat like a microscope, so that the closer in the reader focuses, the more the form dissolves and reassembles. Then as one gets to the end of the story, one sees what appears to be a whole cloth. The chronology of the structure of a Munro story is nonlinear and sometimes somewhat modular, so it is flexible. When I was editing her work at the New Yorker, we would look together at sections that might go elsewhere in order to best realize the kind of meaning and