ALICE MUNRO - Reading List 7

La Piccioletta Barca

This conversation focused on two stories from Alice Munro's short story collection, Dear Life. Vasiliki Poula, one of the co-founders of LPB, led the discussion on 'The Eye' and the title story, 'Dear Life'.

About Dear Life

Cortázar is quoted to have said: 'The novel wins by points, the short story by knockout.' Dear Life, though, includes fourteen short stories that are ordinary stories of everyday people, about whom we probably do not expect to read in books. There are ten short fictions to start, with a coda of four autobiographical pieces. All stories concentrate on how an apparently fortuitous or inconsequential event and memory may change one’s life profoundly. She adopts a subtle, concise and utterly unpretentious writing style which further accentuates the intricacies of the ordinary. In this way, she successfully shifts from the everyday experience of one to universal themes of human nature, taking the reader to the very depth of their own feelings and thoughts.

About Alice Munro

Alice Munro has dedicated her literary career almost exclusively to the short story genre. She fell in love with the stories of Anton Chekhov as a teenager due to the importance he'd give to ordinary life. She grew up in a small Canadian town; the kind of environment that often provides the backdrops for her stories. Munro said that she's drawn to writing about small towns because 'the small town is like a stage for human lives.'

Her first book of short stories was published in 1968 and since then she has published fifteen more. She is known to her editors and agents as a ruthless revisionist, constantly editing and re-editing her stories. She had not attracted much attention outside of Canada until her work began appearing in The New Yorker  in 1977. Since then, her work frequently appears in magazines including The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, and The Paris Review.

Munro received the Man Booker International Prize in 2009, as well as the Nobel Prize in Literature 2013, as the 'master of the contemporary short story.'

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