Kim Stallknecht She writes of turkey gutting and fox farming, of trees felled in the Ontario wilderness, of harsh country schools and lingering illnesses, of familiar violence and obscure shame, and above all, of the lives of girls and women. And while these things have perhaps made her less well known than she should be, and the predictable sods have been flung - that her concerns are domestic, narrow, regional, dated, that she only writes short stories - hers is a story of triumph over such petty assumptions. Munro is often called the best living writer of short stories in English; the words "short story" are frequently dropped. People tend to be surprised at how normal Munro is in person.
Critical perspective One Alice Munro short story has the power of many novels. She tells us what it is to be a human being. At the end of one of her stories you have to pause, catch your breath, come up for air. Alice Munro has done more than any living writer to demonstrate that the short story is an art form and not the poor relation of the novel.
Her characters often leave the confines of the country for an intellectual and creative existence in the city, find that they have become ensnared within an undesired domesticity, which forces them into pale versions of themselves, and then, in later life once more feel the urge to break free.
For that we need to look to her style.
A Munro sentence, beguiling in its lucidity, compelling in its precision, seductive in its simplicity, offers constant enchantment. A swish of tender hilarity getting the better of all her sores and hollows, for the time given.
She has an acute sensitivity to the treasons, duplicities, evasions, snatched passions, tendernesses, compromises, commitments and pained avowals of human relationships. She teases the surface, until all that is hidden, all those tucked away pivots of a life, are revealed.
In her stories there are no neat endings, no straightforward progressions, no character arcs. There is a detachment from the crude mechanics of bold brushstrokes.
Munro finds the extraordinary within the ordinary, and reveals life to be a layering of secrets and lies, a meshing together of disparate elements.
She shows us that we can never truly know anyone. After the travelling salesman father has visited a women called Nora in 'Walker Brothers County' with his two children in towthe narrator comments: The whiskey, maybe the dancing.
No worry about my brother, he does not notice enough. At most he might remember the blind lady, the picture of Mary.
Munro plays with our own lack of knowledge; we feel complicit in the need to share a secret we know nothing of.
We are, like the narrator and her brother, in the dark. As a consequence this scene becomes far more poignant. Munro's narrators are philosophical, melancholic, at an ironic distance from their own lives.
In Lives of Girls and Womena collection of interlinked short stories, Del, unflinching in her examination of concealed motive, says: There is no protection, unless it is in knowing.
I wanted death pinned down and isolated behind a wall of particular facts and circumstances, not floating around loose, ignored but powerful, waiting to get in anywhere.
They possess, at centre, a sense of disquiet, an amused despairing wonder at the knowledge of the way life is tainted by its brevity and unexpected twists.
The Munro narrator is the voice in your head that will not be silenced. Alice Munro is routinely spoken of in the same breath as Anton Chekov. She resembles the Russian master in a number of ways. She is fascinated with the failings of love and work and has an obsession with time.
There is the same penetrating psychological insight; the events played out in a minor key; the small town settings.Early life and education. Munro was born Alice Ann Laidlaw in Wingham, plombier-nemours.com father, Robert Eric Laidlaw, was a fox and mink farmer, and later turned to turkey farming.
Her mother, Anne Clarke Laidlaw (née Chamney), was a plombier-nemours.comtion: Short story writer. Alice Munro has done more than any living writer to demonstrate that the short story is an art form and not the poor relation of the novel. Munro’s fictions are usually set in small-town rural Ontario, where she has lived for much of her life.
Alice Laidlaw Munro was born in Wingham, Ontario, Canada on July 10, , the eldest child of Robert Eric Laidlaw (–76), a fox farmer, and Anne Clarke Chamney Laidlaw (–), a former schoolteacher. Members of her father’s family, having emigrated to Upper Canada from the Ettrick.
Early life and education. Munro was born Alice Ann Laidlaw in Wingham, plombier-nemours.com father, Robert Eric Laidlaw, was a fox and mink farmer, and later turned to turkey farming.
Her mother, Anne Clarke Laidlaw (née Chamney), was a plombier-nemours.com: James Munro (–), Gerald Fremlin (–, his death). About Alice Munro.
The awarding of the Nobel Prize in Literature to the Canadian writer Alice Munro in confirmed her position as a master of the short story form. Munro's fiction is most often set in her native     Munro's work is often compared with the great short-story writers.
In her stories, as in Chekhov's.