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[1931 - ]
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.
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.
Lives of Girls and Women (1971)
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.
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.
Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You (1974)
Who Do You Think You Are? Stories (1978) --
Winner 1978 Governor General's Award for Fiction
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 Beggar Maid: Stories of Flo and Rose (1978)
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 Moons of Jupiter (1982)
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.
The Progress of Love (1986) -- Winner
1986 Governor General's Award for Fiction
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.
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.
Friend Of My Youth (1990) -- Winner
Trillium Book Award
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.
Open Secrets (1994)
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.
Selected Stories (1996)
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.
Love of a Good Woman (1998) -- Winner 1998 Giller Prize
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.
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
Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage (2001)
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
Vintage Readers are a perfect introduction to some
of the greatest modern writers presented in attractive, accessible
Vintage Munro (2004)
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.
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.
Runaway (2004) -- Winner 2004 Giller
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.
A powerful new collection from one of our most beloved, admired, and
The View from Castle Rock (2006)
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.
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
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
“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.
Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives -- A Biography (2005) by
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
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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