Thursday, December 31, 2009

Alice Munro

Now 78, Alice Munro grew up in Wingham, Ontario, and attended the University of Western Ontario. Her new book is Too Much Happiness.

She has published fourteen previous 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; and Alice Munro’s Best. During her distinguished career she has been the recipient of many awards and prizes, including the recent Man Booker International Prize given to her in Dublin for “a body of work that has contributed to an achievement in fiction on the world stage.”

From her Q & A with Alexandra Alter for the Wall Street Journal:

Wall Street Journal:A lot of the stories in the new collection are tinged with violence. Where did that come from?

Ms. Munro: I didn't realize until the book was finished. I knew that the first story was a real zinger that way. In fact, I haven't been able to reread it. It's too disturbing…I didn't intend there to be a violent motif going through the book, but it's there and this can happen without your being aware of it…The first story was not copied from anything, but this is really strange: There has been a very similar murder in the last six months which is the same thing of a father killing his children to save them from the evil of the world, and the mother being left to confront them.

You seem immune to literary fads. Do you consciously try to stick to plain story telling and character driven narratives?

I read this about myself, the unadorned style. It's just like your clothes are plain. And I don't think of my writing this way. I don't deliberately keep it that way. There are writers I admire like, say, Nabokov, if I wrote like that I would be perfectly happy. It's not an artistic decision.

How long do you typically work on an individual story?

Some stories...[read on]
--Marshal Zeringue