Monday, April 25, 2005

50 Book Challenge #24: Selected Stories by Alice Munro

After the NY Times gave her most recent collection a gushing review, I decided a short story fan should probably check out the prose stylings of Alice Munro.

After reading this selection from her several collections, I'm shocked that she hasn't received more notice and fame south of the (Canadian) border. Maybe I am uniquely ignorant, but until this year I'd never even heard of this woman and now I wonder why her work isn't lauded over so much of what passes as literary fiction these days. Her prose is incisive and insightful, focusing on the exploration of character. However, she never falls into the trap of only describing character and every story is a page-turner. My only complaint is that her subject matter is rather narrow. Too many protagonists are poor Ontarian women who cheat on their husbands or are the victims of family violence. After reading the first five or six stories like this, the rest of them fill you with a sense of deja vu (exacerbated by the use of some of the same characters in several of the stories).

Perhaps it's because the short story is a undervalued medium, but Munro probably has fewer readers than she deserves. I'd advise you to do your part to rectify the situation.
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