Memory is the way we keep telling ourselves our stories - and telling other people a somewhat different version of our stories. – Alice Munro
Named for the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature, Canadian author Alice Munro is truly one of the greatest contemporary writers of short fiction. Celebrating her 86th birthday today, Munro has gifted us with some of the finest short stories of the 20th and early 21st Centuries, and she often is compared, rightfully, with Chekhov and Faulkner in her portrayal of the region in which she grew up and has lived most of her life.
Munro's work has been described as having revolutionized the architecture of short stories, especially in its tendency to move forward and backward in time. Her male characters are notable for their true portrayal of “everyman” and when we men read them it’s easy to put ourselves in their places. Her female characters are much more complex and women say they see both themselves and other women in their lives when they read them. Munro's writing creates for us a fascinating look at day-to-day life, love, and work and both the successes and the failings we all have known.
Besides the Nobel, Munro has been honored with about every possible major award including the Man Booker International Prize for her lifetime body of work. Unlike some writers whose style changes markedly over the years, her writing has been consistent and wonderful from the beginning.
“I want the reader to feel something is astonishing (when they read me),” she said. “Not the ‘what happens?’ but the way everything happens. These long short story fictions do that best, for me.” And for all of us. If it’s a story by Alice Munro, it’s worthy of your time, so take some of it to read her. You won’t regret it.
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