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Works by
Alice Munro
(Writer)
[1931 - ]

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Profile created December 21, 2006
  • Dance of the Happy Shades: And Other Stories (1968) -- Winner 1968 Governor General's Award for Fiction
    In these fifteen short stories--her eighth collection of short stories in a long and distinguished career--Alice Munro conjures ordinary lives with an extraordinary vision, displaying the remarkable talent for which she is now widely celebrated. Set on farms, by river marshes, in the lonely towns and new suburbs of western Ontario, these tales are luminous acts of attention to those vivid moments when revelation emerges from the layers of experience that lie behind even the most everyday events and lives.

  • Lives of Girls and Women (1971) 
    The only novel from Alice Munro-award-winning author of The Love of a Good Woman--is an insightful, honest book, "autobiographical in form but not in fact," that chronicles a young girl's growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940's.

    Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father's fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor family friend and her rough younger brother. When she begins spending more time in town, she is surrounded by women-her mother, an agnostic, opinionated woman who sells encyclopedias to local farmers; her mother's boarder, the lusty Fern Dogherty; and her best friend, Naomi, with whom she shares the frustrations and unbridled glee of adolescence.

    Through these unwitting mentors and in her own encounters with sex, birth, and death, Del explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood. All along she remains a wise, witty observer and recorder of truths in small-town life. The result is a powerful, moving, and humorous demonstration of Alice Munro's unparalleled awareness of the lives of girls and women.

  • Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You (1974) 
    In the thirteen stories in her remarkable second collection, Alice Munro demonstrates the precise observation, straightforward prose style, and masterful technique that led no less a critic than John Updike to compare her to Chekhov. The sisters, mothers and daughters, aunts, grandmothers, and friends in these stories shimmer with hope and love, anger and reconciliation, as they contend with their histories and their present, and what they can see of the future.

  • Who Do You Think You Are? Stories (1978) -- Winner 1978 Governor General's Award for Fiction

  • The Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (1978)
    In this series of interweaving stories, Munro recreates the evolving bond between two women in the course of almost forty years. One is Flo, practical, suspicious of other people's airs, at times dismayingly vulgar. the other is Rose, Flo's stepdaughter, a clumsy, shy girl who somehow leaves the small town she grew up in to achieve her own equivocal success in the larger world.

  • The Moons of Jupiter (1982) 
    In these piercingly lovely and endlessly surprising stories by one of the most acclaimed current practitioners of the art of fiction, many things happen: there are betrayals and reconciliations, love affairs consummated and mourned. But the true events in The Moons Of Jupiter are the ways in which the characters are transformed over time, coming to view their past selves with an anger, regret, and infinite compassion that communicate themselves to us with electrifying force.

  • The Progress of Love (1986) -- Winner 1986 Governor General's Award for Fiction
    Alice Munro, who received the National Book Critics Circle Award for her latest collection of stories, The Love of a Good Woman, is widely acknowledged as a modern master of the short story. In this earlier collection, she demonstrates all of those strengths that have won her so many literary accolades.

    A divorced woman returns to her childhood home where she confronts the memory of her parents' confounding yet deep bond. The accidental near-drowning of a child exposes the fragility of the trust between children and parents. A young man, remembering a terrifying childhood incident, wrestles with the responsibility he has always felt for his younger brother. In these and other stories Alice Munro proves once again a sensitive and compassionate chronicler of our times. Drawing us into the most intimate corners of ordinary lives, she reveals much about ourselves, our choices, and our experiences of love.

  • Friend Of My Youth (1990) -- Winner Trillium Book Award
    The ten miraculously accomplished stories in Alice Munro's Friend of My Youth not only astonish and delight but also convey the unspoken mysteries at the heart of all human experience.

  • Open Secrets (1994) 
    In these eight tales, Munro evokes the devastating power of old love suddenly recollected. She tells of vanished schoolgirls and indentured frontier brides and an eccentric recluse who, in the course of one surpassingly odd dinner party, inadvertently lands herself a wealthy suitor from exotic Australia. And Munro shows us how one woman's romantic tale of capture and escape in the high Balkans may end up inspiring another woman who is fleeing a husband and lover in present-day Canada.

  • Selected Stories (1996)
    A true literary event, the publication of this generous selection of stories--drawn from Alice Munro's seven collections spanning 30 years--gives enormous reading pleasure while it confirms Munro's place in the front ranks of today's writers of fiction. These 28 stories about lovers, parents and children, sex, seduction, marriage, murder, dreams, and death are pure essence of Munro.

  • The Love of a Good Woman (1998) -- Winner 1998 Giller Prize
    In eight new stories, a master of the form extends and magnifies her great themes--the vagaries of love, the passion that leads down unexpected paths, the chaos hovering just under the surface of things, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart.

    Time stretches out in some of the stories: a man and a woman look back forty years to the summer they met--the summer, as it turns out, that the true nature of their lives was revealed. In others time is telescoped: a young girl finds in the course of an evening that the mother she adores, and whose fluttery sexuality she hopes to emulate, will not sustain her--she must count on herself.

    Some choices are made--in a will, in a decision to leave home--with irrevocable and surprising consequences. At other times disaster is courted or barely skirted: when a mother has a startling dream about her baby; when a woman, driving her grandchildren to visit the lakeside haunts of her youth, starts a game that could have dangerous consequences. The rich layering that gives Alice Munro's work so strong a sense of life is particularly apparent in the title story, in which the death of a local optometrist brings an entire town into focus--from the preadolescent boys who find his body, to the man who probably killed him, to the woman who must decide what to do about what she might know. Large, moving, profound--these are stories that extend the limits of fiction.

  • Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage  (2001)
    A superb new collection from one of our best and best-loved writers. Nine stories draw us immediately into that special place known as Alice Munro territory–a place where an unexpected twist of events or a suddenly recaptured memory can illumine the arc of an entire life.

    The fate of a strong-minded housekeeper with a “frizz of reddish hair,” just entering the dangerous country of old-maidhood, is unintentionally (and deliciously) reversed by a teenaged girl’s practical joke. A college student visiting her aunt for the first time and recognizing the family furniture stumbles on a long-hidden secret and its meaning in her own life. An inveterate philanderer finds the tables turned when he puts his wife into an old-age home. A young cancer patient stunned by good news discovers a perfect bridge to her suddenly regained future. A woman recollecting an afternoon’s wild lovemaking with a stranger realizes how the memory of that encounter has both changed for her and sustained her through a lifetime.

    Men and women are subtly revealed. Personal histories, both complex and simple, unfold in rich detail of circumstance and feeling. Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage provides the deep pleasures and rewards that Alice Munro’s large and ever- growing audience has come to expect.

  • Vintage Munro (2004)
    Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some of the greatest modern writers presented in attractive, accessible paperback editions.

    In an unbroken procession of brilliant, revelatory short stories, Alice Munro has unfolded the wordless secrets that lie at the heart of all human experience. She has won three Governor General's Literary Awards in her native Canada, as well as the National Book Critics Circle Award.

    Vintage Munro includes stories from throughout her career: The title stories from her collections The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage;  "Differently," from Selected Stories, and "Carried Away," from Open Secrets.

  • Runaway (2004) -- Winner 2004 Giller Prize
    The incomparable Alice Munro’s bestselling and rapturously acclaimed Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships. In Munro’s hands, the people she writes about–women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children–become as vivid as our own neighbors. It is her miraculous gift to make these stories as real and unforgettable as our own.

  • Carried Away (2006)
    Carried Away is a dazzling selection of stories–seventeen favorites chosen by the author from across her distinguished career.

    Alice Munro has been repeatedly hailed as one of our greatest living writers, a reputation that has been growing for years. The stories brought together here span a quarter century, drawn from some of her earliest books, The Beggar Maid and The Moons of Jupiter, through her recent best-selling collection, Runaway.

    Here are such favorites as “Royal Beatings” in which a young girl, her father, and stepmother release the tension of their circumstances in a ritual of punishment and reconciliation; “Friend of My Youth” in which a woman comes to understand that her difficult mother is not so very different from herself; and “The Love of a Good Woman,” in which, when an old crime resurfaces, a woman has to choose whether to believe in the man she intends to marry.

    Munro’s incomparable empathy for her characters, the depth of her understanding of human nature, and the grace and surprise of her narrative add up to a richly layered and capacious fiction. Like the World War I soldier in the title story, whose letters from the front to a small-town librarian he doesn’t know change her life forever, Munro’s unassuming characters insinuate themselves in our hearts and take permanent hold.

  • The View from Castle Rock (2006)
    A powerful new collection from one of our most beloved, admired, and honored writers.

    In stories that are more personal than any that she’s written before, Alice Munro pieces her family’s history into gloriously imagined fiction. A young boy is taken to Edinburgh’s Castle Rock, where his father assures him that on a clear day he can see America, and he catches a glimpse of his father’s dream. In stories that follow, as the dream becomes a reality, two sisters-in-law experience very different kinds of passion on the long voyage to the New World; a baby is lost and magically reappears on a journey from an Illinois homestead to the Canadian border.

    Other stories take place in more familiar Munro territory, the towns and countryside around Lake Huron, where the past shows through the present like the traces of a glacier on the landscape and strong emotions stir just beneath the surface of ordinary comings and goings. First love flowers under the apple tree, while a stronger emotion presents itself in the barn. A girl hired as summer help, and uneasy about her “place” in the fancy resort world she’s come to, is transformed by her employer’s perceptive parting gift. A father whose early expectations of success at fox farming have been dashed finds strange comfort in a routine night job at an iron foundry. A clever girl escapes to college and marriage.

    Evocative, gripping, sexy, unexpected—these stories reflect a depth and richness of experience. The View from Castle Rock is a brilliant achievement from one of the finest writers of our time.

See also:
  • Alice Munro: Paradox and Parallel (1987) by W. R. Martin
    Beginning with her earliest, uncollected stories, W.R. Martin critically examines Alice Munro's writing career. He discusses influences on Munro and presents an overview of the prominent features of her art: the typical protagonist, the development of her narrative technique, and the dialectic that involves paradoxes and parallels.

  • Controlling the Uncontrollable: The Fiction of Alice Munro (1989) by Ildiko De Papp Carrington

  • Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro (1990) by Beverly Rasporich
    Dance of the Sexes reveals that Alice Munro's gender very much colors and influences her fiction in dramatic ways, expressing itself in what feminist theorists have identified as "writing the body." Beverly Rasporich examines Munro as folk artist, ironist, and regionalist in relation to her femaleness and feminism.

  • The Rest of the Story: Critical Essays on Alice Munro (1999) by Robert Thacker
    Since the early 1950s Alice Munro has been writing stories that have absorbed, intrigued, and even troubled her readers. In The Rest of the Story: Critical Essays on Alice Munro, leading critics explore the myriad connections informing Munro's deceptively simple tales. Munro's 1996 story, "The Love of a Good Woman," receives particular attention, because in it she looks back on and forward to her unfolding career as a writer. Insights into Munro's relationship with her agent, Virginia Barber, and with the New Yorker, also reveal a great deal about the development of Munro's career and her vocation. Together, the essays in The Rest of the Story explore Munro's art in its full accomplishment, treating broadly both its process and its achievement

  • Lives of Mothers and Daughters: Growing up with Alice Munro (2001) by Sheila Munro
    “So much of what I think I know – and I think I know more about my mother’s life than almost any daughter could know – is refracted through the prism of her writing. Such is the power of her fiction that sometimes it even feels as though I’m living inside an Alice Munro story.”

    The millions of people around the world who read Alice Munro’s work are enthralled by her insight into the human heart. Consider, then, what it would be like to have a mother who was so all-knowing. Worse, if that mother were world-famous as you were growing up and trying to make your own way as a writer, while you yourself followed in her footsteps, raising a family and trying to write on the side.

    That is Sheila Munro’s dilemma, and it gives this book special fascination for anyone interested in their own relationship with their own mother, or their own daughter.

    This book is, in effect, an intimate, affectionate biography of Alice Munro. It describes in a way that only a close relative could, the details of the family background. We follow the family history from the Laidlaws who left Scotland in the early 19th century, to Alice Munro’s birth in 1931, her early years and marriage all the way to the current family, including Alice Munro’s grandchildren. One of the many fascinations of the book is that faithful readers of Alice’s work – and are there any other kind? – will find constant echoes of settings, situations, and characters that occur in her fiction. So this book is not only a fascinating biography of Alice Munro, it also provides an informative commentary to the stories we all know.

    But Sheila Munro goes further. As a writer growing up in the shadow of a writing mother, she’s able to write frankly and personally about being a daughter and about being a writer. With the publication of this book – richly embellished with scores of family photographs – Sheila Munro has established herself as a skilled and successful author in her own right.

    • Includes dozens of fascinating Munro family snapshots scattered throughout the text

    • Full of real-life details that will fascinate any Alice Munro fan

  • Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives -- A Biography (2005) by Robert Thacker
    This is the book about one of the world’s great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine.

    For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro’s life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro’s admirers everywhere.

    By following “the parallel tracks” of Alice Munro’s life and Alice Munro’s texts, he gives a thorough and revealing account of both her life and work. “There is always a starting point in reality,” she once said of her stories, and this book reveals just how often her stories spring from her life.

    The book is chronological, starting with her pioneer ancestors, but with special attention paid to her parents and to her early days growing up poor in Wingham. Then all of her life stages — the marriage to Jim Munro, the move to Vancouver, then to Victoria to start the bookstore, the three daughters, the divorce, the return to Huron County, and the new life with Gerry Fremlin — leading to the triumphs as, story by story, book by book, she gains fame around the world, until rumors of a Nobel Prize circulate . . .

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