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Alice Munro (1931–2024)

Author of Runaway

129+ Works 27,481 Members 709 Reviews 192 Favorited

About the Author

Alice Munro was born Alice Laidlaw in Wingham, Ontario on July 10, 1931. She published her first story, The Dimensions of a Shadow, while a student at the University of Western Ontario in 1950. She left the university in 1951 to get married and start a family. In 1972 she became Writer in Residence show more at the University of Western Ontario. Her first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, was published in 1968 and won the Governor General's Award, Canada's highest literary prize. Her other works include Lives of Girls and Women, The View from Castle Rock, Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You, Too Much Happiness, and Dear Life. She has received several awards including the Governor General's Award for fiction for Who Do You Think You Are? and The Progress of Love, the Giller Prize for Runaway in 2004, the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 for her lifetime body of work, and the 2013 Nobel Prize in Literature. Her stories have appeared in numerous publications including The New Yorker, The Paris Review, and The Atlantic Monthly. Also, in 2013, her title Dear Life: Stories made The New York Times Best Seller List. (Bowker Author Biography) show less
Image credit: Photo © Derek Shapton

Series

Works by Alice Munro

Runaway (2004) 3,708 copies
Dear Life (2012) 2,773 copies
Too Much Happiness (2009) 2,267 copies
Lives of Girls and Women (1971) 1,846 copies
The View from Castle Rock (2006) 1,678 copies
Open Secrets (1994) 1,494 copies
Selected Stories (1985) 1,352 copies
Friend of My Youth: Stories (1990) 1,115 copies
The Moons of Jupiter (1982) 994 copies
The Progress of Love (1986) 926 copies
Vintage Munro (2004) 127 copies
My Best Stories (2009) 124 copies
New selected stories (2011) 64 copies
Lying Under the Apple Tree (2014) 47 copies
Queenie (1999) 46 copies
No Love Lost (2003) 26 copies
Alice Munro Collection (2013) 18 copies
Dolly (2016) 9 copies
Scherzi del destino (2013) 7 copies
The Progress of Love / Death by Landscape (2010) — Contributor — 4 copies
Amundsen 4 copies
Nettles 4 copies
Un Demi Pamplemousse (2002) 4 copies
Meneseteung 4 copies
Boys and Girls 3 copies
Child's Play 3 copies
Sevgili Hayat (2014) 3 copies
Ksiezyce Jowisza (2014) 2 copies
Noveller (1993) 2 copies
Corrie 2 copies
Fiction (2013) 2 copies
Jawne tajemnice (2014) 2 copies
El progreso del amor (1996) 2 copies
Bardon Bus 2 copies
Dimension 2 copies
Fiction 2 copies
Firar (2014) 1 copy
No title 1 copy
In fuga 1 copy
Genclik Arkadasim (2016) 1 copy
Odcienie milosci (2014) 1 copy
Munro Alice 1 copy
A Real Life 1 copy
Miles City, Montana (1991) 1 copy
Utvalgte noveller (2004) 1 copy
Vandals (1994) 1 copy
Train 1 copy
Axis 1 copy
Wood 1 copy
Some Women 1 copy
Face 1 copy
Deep-Holes 1 copy
Wenlock Edge 1 copy

Associated Works

The Best American Short Stories of the Century (2000) — Contributor — 1,565 copies
Children Playing Before a Statue of Hercules (2005) — Contributor — 1,220 copies
Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, and Drama (1995) — Contributor, some editions — 929 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2007 (2007) — Contributor — 831 copies
My Mistress's Sparrow Is Dead (2008) — Contributor — 766 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2005 (2005) — Contributor — 700 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 573 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2004 (2004) — Contributor — 557 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2006 (2006) — Contributor — 549 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2001 (2001) — Contributor — 546 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2002 (2002) — Contributor — 466 copies
The World of the Short Story: A 20th Century Collection (1986) — Contributor — 464 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1999 (1999) — Contributor — 454 copies
Points of View: Revised Edition (1966) — Contributor — 414 copies
Women & Fiction: Short Stories By and About Women (1975) — Contributor — 367 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2012 (2012) — Contributor — 363 copies
100 Years of the Best American Short Stories (2015) — Contributor — 291 copies
The Best American Short Stories 2013 (2013) — Contributor — 280 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1993 (1993) — Contributor — 277 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1992 (1992) — Contributor — 225 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1990 (1990) — Contributor — 221 copies
We Are the Stories We Tell (1990) — Contributor — 195 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1989 (1989) — Contributor — 189 copies
Nothing But You: Love Stories From The New Yorker (1997) — Contributor — 186 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1991 (1991) — Contributor — 184 copies
The Best American Mystery Stories 2008 (2008) — Contributor — 169 copies
The Best American Short Stories of the 80s (1990) — Contributor — 164 copies
From Ink Lake: Canadian Stories (1990) — Contributor — 130 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1987 (1987) — Contributor — 129 copies
Prize Stories 2001: The O. Henry Awards (2001) — Contributor — 124 copies
The Best American Mystery Stories 2009 (2009) — Contributor — 115 copies
The Penguin Book of International Women's Stories (1996) — Contributor — 114 copies
The Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories in English (1986) — Contributor — 112 copies
Norton Introduction to the Short Novel (1982) — Contributor, some editions — 99 copies
Prize Stories 1997: The O. Henry Awards (1997) — Contributor — 99 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1986 (1986) — Contributor — 97 copies
Granta 18: The Snap Revolution (1986) — Contributor — 90 copies
The Treasury of English Short Stories (1985) — Contributor — 85 copies
Granta 118: Exit Strategies (2012) — Contributor — 84 copies
Granta 120: Medicine (2012) — Contributor — 82 copies
Granta 17: While Waiting for a War (1985) — Contributor — 81 copies
The Ecco Book of Christmas Stories (2005) — Contributor — 75 copies
The New Oxford Book of Canadian Short Stories (1986) — Contributor — 73 copies
Away from Her [2006 film] (2006) — Original short story — 68 copies
Great Canadian Short Stories (1971) — Contributor — 53 copies
Canadian Short Stories (1960) — Contributor — 45 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1981 (1981) — Contributor — 34 copies
The Secret Self: A Century of Short Stories by Women (1995) — Contributor — 34 copies
Stories To Get You Through The Night (2010) — Contributor — 33 copies
The Oxford Book of Stories by Canadian Women in English (1999) — Author, some editions — 30 copies
The Best American Short Stories 1979 (1979) — Contributor — 25 copies
Best Short Stories 1991 (1991) — Contributor — 16 copies
Best Short Stories 1992 (1992) — Contributor — 13 copies
The Penguin Book of Modern Canadian Short Stories (1982) — Contributor — 13 copies
Inside Stories I (1987) — Contributor — 10 copies
A Vintage Christmas (Vintage Minis) (2018) — Contributor — 9 copies
Sixteen by twelve;: Short stories by Canadian writers (1970) — Contributor — 7 copies

Tagged

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Common Knowledge

Members

Discussions

March 2015: Alice Munro in Monthly Author Reads (July 2015)
Three Cheers for Alice Munro! in Canadian Bookworms (October 2013)
Alice Munro in Book talk (October 2013)

Reviews

These are good stories brilliantly told. One, Admundsen, really resonated with me, for personal reasons. But overall I didn't enjoy the book. It was too sad, almost depressing. Munro takes liberties with English grammar; she uses sentence fragments in abundance. I have no problem with someone doing that for effect, but she does it so much that it spoiled the rhythm of my reading.
 
Flagged
dvoratreis | 111 other reviews | May 22, 2024 |
These are stories about the 1970’s or earlier,, usually written with twenty or more years hindsight. They all seem sad, or wistful, so that their cumulative impact lessens, so you should probably space out reading them more than I did.
Read after learning of Munro’s death, having previously read a couple of other collections of her short stories.
The first story, Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage was not at all how I expected, with surprising turns of the plot and, as expected, good concise characterisation. I liked its ending:
It was the whole twist of consequence that dismayed her—it seemed fantastical, but dull. Also insulting, like some sort of joke or inept warning, trying to get its hooks into her. For where, on the list of things she planned to achieve in her life, was there any mention of her being responsible for the existence on earth of a person named Omar? Ignoring her mother, she wrote, “You must not ask, it is forbidden for us to know—”
She paused, chewing her pencil, then finished off with a chill of satisfaction, “—what fate has in store for me, or for you—”


I had previously read Queenie in 2013, when it was published as a separate booklet (by Waterstones in the UK) following Munro winning the Nobel prize.
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½
 
Flagged
CarltonC | 71 other reviews | May 20, 2024 |
Love in a Sanatorium in a Cold Climate
Review of the New Yorker Fiction online edition (August 27, 2012) of the story later collected in the anthology "Dear Life" (October 13, 2012).

I realized after Alice Munro's (July 10, 1931-May 13, 2024) passing that just about all of my reading of her was from my pre-GR and pre-reviewing days. But several prompts arrived (see below) to get me started again.

While reading Amundsen it struck me how often short stories are mysteries. I don't mean that they are in that fiction genre. In the space of only a short number of pages you have to figure out the who, what, when, where, and why of the story. So the reader becomes the detective searching for clues and the author is the criminal who hides them. The clues in Amundsen arrive very gradually, some not until close to the very end.

A recent graduate teacher arrives at the Amundsen* Sanatorium in Ontario, Canada to give classes to the younger children there. Amundsen is a fictional town as best as I know, so you begin to imagine what is the connection to the doomed polar explorer. You realize the sanatorium is for treating tuberculosis patients and for their recovery. There are references to World War II and the discovery/invention of streptomycin, so you realize the story is likely set in 1944. The chief surgeon is an off-putting character whom you dislike immediately. But a relationship grows with the young teacher, until it all comes to naught.

I enjoyed this revisit to Alice Munro's work and hope to continue with further re-reads, new reads and reviews.

Footnote
When a reference to Huntsville, Ontario comes along late in the story, you realize that the inspiration for the sanatorium in Amundsen was likely the one in Gravenhurst, Ontario. Gravenhurst is about 53 kilometres (33 miles) south of Huntsville.

Trivia and Links
The New Yorker sent out a newsletter with links to some of its Alice Munro stories and related articles. You can see that newsletter here. If you are a subscriber, still have free reads, or are lightning ⚡🏃🏻 fast on screengrabs before a paywall comes down, you can read Amundsen here. Failing those options, it is also available in the Dear Life (2012) collection of stories.

Bonus Tracks
Margaret Atwood did a reading of an early Alice Munro story Dance of the Happy Shades, the title story of Munro's first short story collection (1968), for The Guardian which you can listen to here. The Guardian also provides links to several of its related Alice Munro articles which you can see here.
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Flagged
alanteder | May 18, 2024 |
Not enough happiness if you ask me.
 
Flagged
Abcdarian | 96 other reviews | May 18, 2024 |

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Statistics

Works
129
Also by
67
Members
27,481
Popularity
#745
Rating
3.9
Reviews
709
ISBNs
862
Languages
31
Favorited
192

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