Alice Munro – Selected Short Stories

alicemunroWinning the Nobel Prize will no doubt get Alice Munro a lot more readers as well as raise the profile of the short story in the minds of the world’s readers. It has been said that she has is the greatest writer of short stories in the English Language, one of the best living short story writers, but I think that she will never be known for one particular story, as many writers are, for example Gogol for “The Overcoat”, Katherine Mansfield for “The Garden Party”, Chekov for “The Lady with the Dog” or James Joyce for “The Dead”. Her stories are certainly packed full of the most beautiful flourishes of language, and an amazing control of narrative, perspective, character, tone and pace, but no one character or situation rises above any other, which I suppose is the point of Munro’s beautiful fiction: it simply persists, though it glows, and disturbs, and haunts in equal measure. The lives she builds up and explores become huge and special, but they are all terribly ordinary, caught up in the most mundane of goings on, narrated in a sober and transparent manner, so that when a man is decapitated or a suicide plot stumbled upon, its as though nothing out of the ordinary has happened. Nothing is sensationalised or romanticised or laboured. Even the sudden shifts in perspective or collapses in narrative time fail to make the reader realise the art in her writing.

Mr A

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