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Alice Munro

Alice Munro’s Too Much Happiness

October 22, 2010

Alice Munro is widely recognized as being among the greatest living authors writing in English, and her latest volume of stories, just now being released in paperback, inspires, as the title suggests, almost Too Much Happiness—her thirteenth book in a nearly sixty-year career. The collection reads with the headlong rush of both a thriller and a romance. In ten stories, told with equal power and precision from male and female perspectives, Munro explores how people do and don't move on with their lives after losing what they thought they couldn't live without.

 

 

An Interview with Alice Munro

October 22, 2010

An interview with Alice Munro begins precisely on time, and always with a quick, friendly, personal exchange of greetings and news. Then we’re off on an odyssey in which a couple of hours fly by as we discuss her stories and how they came to be. Munro's conversational voice is so similar to the sound, diction, and rhythms of her writing, that every reader of her work already knows how she speaks. In her down-to-earth manner, she presents complex ideas in concrete, understandable ways.

 

Appreciations of Alice Munro

  Michael Cunningham, novelist Alice Munro tells the large stories of people whose lives are outwardly small. Rarely does she write about the exceptional outsider. She is a great champion of ordinary outsiders, of people who in small and crucia [...]

Some Stories Have to Be Told by Me: A Literary History of Alice Munro

Sometime in the late 1970s, Alice Munro made a policy of refusing prizes that didn’t specifically honor the quality of her fiction. When the Canadian government offered her one of its highest honors in 1983—an appointment as an Officer of the Order of Canada, which would have entitled her to a pretty, gold-edged medal with the motto Desiderantes meliorem patriam (“They desire a better country”) emblazoned around a gold maple leaf—Munro politely declined. She didn’t feel comfortable, she said, with awards that celebrated celebrity. Only awards that had been earned by particular books or by particular groups of books were okay. Munro was fifty-two by then, and several such awards had already been placed, like love letters, upon her books.

 

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

  Before I present a book at a sales conference, I’ll slip quickly through it again, just to remember it all. By this point I’ll have read the book three, four times at least, maybe five times, but I just want to refresh my memory. And the d [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

The fifties were a very male period of writing in the United States. America didn’t have a tradition of women writers. Who, among women, were admired? Eudora Welty, Katherine Anne Porter. Among poets? Emily Dickinson. How many others? In Canada, you didn’t get points off for being a woman. The challenge wasn’t so much being female as it was being Canadian. Embroidery, oil painting, writing, it was all considered a hobby. Writing wasn’t important. There was hardly a market for new novels.

 

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

Alice Munro tells the large stories of people whose lives are outwardly small. Rarely does she write about the exceptional outsider. She is a great champion of ordinary outsiders, of people who in small and crucial ways don’t fit, who need a better [...]

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

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.

 

An Appreciation of Alice Munro

  Alice Munro has always been a writer’s writer, and she has also become, for a short story writer, highly popular, simply for doing what she does. I believe that one of her great pieces of luck was living in Canada and being the person she is [...]

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