Thursday, October 10, 2013

A Few Years Ago: Reading Alice Munro

A Few Years Ago

A few years ago I despairingly forced myself to read Munro. I couldn't appreciate her style at all: overly descriptive, overly wordy and overly subtle plots. 'Littish wank.'

Yet now I keenly observe everything she does. Her generally subtle plots are wonderful flavours imbuing her work; her significant details enable us to view humanity under a microscope; she evokes relationships with elegant descriptive brushstrokes. Her structure is also unique and effective, almost like biographical or autobiographical snapshots (sometimes a series of snapshots).

I suppose what Munro has taught me is that the more you read and write the more you appreciate different aspects of narrative mastery. The irony is that a few years ago I would have told friends to avoid her, unless they liked wading through a turgid mire.

A few years later and I'm a Munro evangelist: 'Read Munro!'


  1. Just heard the news! Thrilled. So many magnificent short stories.

  2. I had a simular experience with Munro's work, but she is a quality writer and deserves the Nobel.

  3. No doubt it was my lack of maturity as a reader. Think Munro is magnificent. I've been reading more and more of her over the past couple of years, along with Richard Yates and Karen Russell.

    I think that the prize is also significant in that it draws attention to 'long' short fiction. Thrilled for her, thoroughly deserved but I'm also thrilled for the genre.

  4. And appreciate your comments, Jeremy on the shared reading experience.