Generally speaking, the book editor’s job is to work with the writer to be sure the text is as strong as possible, and in the case of a short story collection, to order the stories. A lot of editorial work is intuitive. To some extent, it’ [...]
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 [...]
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.
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 [...]
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.
Alice Munro is the consummate reviser. Her story “Home” appears here for the first time in the United States, but it is a story that Munro has been working on for more than thirty years. Originally published in New Canadian Stories ’74, [...]
The View from Castle Rock, Alice Munro’s collection of stories forthcoming from Knopf in November, will be her twelfth volume in a distinguished career that has spanned more than fifty-five years and has garnered resounding international acclaim. Her fiction has helped to extend the known boundaries of the short story genre and our appreciation of its potential.