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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.


A Nun No More

My mother went to a high school which was run by the nuns. After she got through she wanted to be a nun too. My Grandma Toscana told me. But Grandma and the whole family didn't want her to become a nun. They told her it was all right for girls in other families to become nuns, but not their daughter.


We hung our heads out of the window every time the train stopped, raising false hopes in the hearts of the Indian women, who ran along beside us even after the train was moving away. "Fresh pulque!" they urged mournfully, holding up jars of thick grey-white liquor, and "Fresh maguey worms!" they called after us, waving lumpy viscous leaf bags.


  As Chris Ware makes so abundantly clear in his outstanding (and bitterly accurate) cover illustrations, writers have always been a favorite topic of other writers. Their private foibles and public follies make ready fodder for gossip and snark [...]

Book Notes

  CURRENT EVENTS Power, Justice, and the Environment: A Critical Appraisal of the Environmental Justice Movement, edited by David Naguib 
Pellow and Robert J. Brulle. MIT, November 2005. $25 paper In the 1970s and ’80s scholars and activist [...]


I come home as I have done several times in the past year, traveling on three buses. The first bus is large, air-conditioned, fast, and comfortable. People on it pay little attention to each other. They look out at the highway traffic, which the bus negotiates with superior ease.

Alice Munro

An Interview with Alice Munro

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.

Book Notes

 HISTORY Born Jewish: A Childhood in Occupied Europe, by Marcel Liebman. Verso, December 2005. $25 This fascinating and scathing indictment of Belgian Jews who cooperated with Nazis during the reign of the Third Reich first appeared in French [...]

Book Notes

CURRENT EVENTS Blessing Same-Sex Unions: The Perils of Queer Romance and the Confusions of Christian Marriage, by Mark D. Jordan. Chicago, June 2005. $29 A thoughtful and provocatively sustained analysis of gay marriage, Jordan’s book will undoubt [...]