The fourteen stories in this brilliant collection show Alice Munro coming home to southwestern Ontario, with Toronto looming on the horizon. Even “To Reach Japan,” where a Vancouver mother takes her young daughter across the country by train, ends in Toronto. On that journey, different kinds of passion produce surprises, both on the journey and at its end.
The range of storytellers is astonishing, as we hear the young voices of women recalling their teenage years and the equally convincing voice of an old woman fighting Alzheimer’s. Margaret Atwood once shrewdly noted that “pushing the sexual boundaries is distinctly thrilling for many a Munro woman,” and very few of these stories deal with men and women in sedate, conventional domestic settings.
Munro admirers will see that these stories are shorter than many in her recent collections, but they have all the sharpness, accessibility, and power of her earlier work, and they are—as always—full of “real” people. The final four works (“not quite stories”) bring the author home, literally. She writes: “I believe they are the first and last—and the closest—things I have to say about my own life.”
Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. She has published sixteen books — Dance of the Happy Shades; Lives of Girls and Women, Something I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You; Who Do You Think You Are?; The Moons of Jupiter; The Progress of Love; Friend of My Youth; Open Secrets; Selected Stories; The Love of a Good Woman; Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage; Runaway; The View from Castle Rock; Alice Munro’s Best, Too Much Happiness, and Dear Life. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the recent Nobel Prize in Literature which cited her as “a master of the contemporary short story.”
Here at home she has won too many awards to list, including three Governor General’s Literary Awards, two Giller Prizes, several Trillium Prizes and a number of Libris Awards. Elsewhere she has won the Rea Award for the Short Story, the Lannan Literary Award, England’s W. H. Smith Book Award, Italy’s Pescara prize, the United States’ National Book Critics Circle Award, and the Edward MacDowell Medal in literature. Her stories have appeared in The New Yorker, The Atlantic Monthly, Saturday Night, The Paris Review, and other publications, and her collections have been translated into thirteen languages.
Alice Munro divides her time between Clinton, Ontario, and Comox, British Columbia.
Trillium Award Finalist - 2013
"It has become practically de rigeur to refer to Munro as 'our Chekhov'... But at this point in Munro's career, how much can it add? What is certain is this: She is our Munro. And how fortunate we are to call her that." -- New York Times Book Review