Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives

Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives

Robert Thacker

Language: English

Pages: 696

ISBN: 0771085109

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

This is the book about one of the world’s great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine.

For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro’s life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro’s admirers everywhere.

By following “the parallel tracks” of Alice Munro’s life and Alice Munro’s texts, he gives a thorough and revealing account of both her life and work. “There is always a starting point in reality,” she once said of her stories, and this book reveals just how often her stories spring from her life.

The book is chronological, starting with her pioneer ancestors, but with special attention paid to her parents and to her early days growing up poor in Wingham. Then all of her life stages — the marriage to Jim Munro, the move to Vancouver, then to Victoria to start the bookstore, the three daughters, the divorce, the return to Huron County, and the new life with Gerry Fremlin — leading to the triumphs as, story by story, book by book, she gains fame around the world, until rumours of a Nobel Prize circulate . . .

From the Hardcover edition.

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way to academic articles, and in 1983 Probable Fictions, the first book devoted to Munro’s work, was published by ECW Press. Munro accepted some invitations during this time. After returning from China in 1981 she appeared in Toronto at Harbourfront International Festival of Authors in October, reading “The Moons of Jupiter.” Early in 1982 she and Fremlin were in Europe, visiting Norway for the February 16 launch of the Norwegian translation of Who Do You Think You Are?, Tiggerpiken, and

Award. Munro and Love did, however, win the National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction in the United States, making her the first native-born Canadian to do so. (Illinois-born Carol Shields had won the award previously, as had Toni Morrison, Jane Smiley, and Frank McCourt, among others.)13 McClelland & Stewart published a poster promoting The Love of a Good Woman, which included this quotation from “The Children Stay” under a picture of Munro: “So her life was falling forward, she was

October 2005 Harper’s ran a long essay by Ben Marcus taking extended issue with Jonathan Franzen’s writings on contemporary fiction and the market – Marcus cites Franzen’s handling of Munro and Runaway in his 2004 review in New York Times Book Review as a central instance of Franzen’s self-indulgent errors. And in June 2006, tracing the whole of Munro’s Vancouver experiences and using her renderings of the city as a kind of literary guided tour, travel writer David Laskin published a piece on

“Fiction in Review.” Yale Review 87, no. 2 (1999): 157–74. Gorra, Michael. “Crossing the Threshold.” New York Times Book Review. November 1, 1998: 6–7. “Less Is More.” Economist. December 12, 1998: 14–15. Lowry, Elizabeth. “Getting Over Love.” Times Literary Supplement. December 4, 1999: 22. Sheppard, R.Z. “Quiet Virtues.” Time. November 20, 1998: 119. Todd, Tamsin. “The Love of a Good Woman.” New Statesman. February 12, 1999: 54–55. Urquhart, Jane. “Art of Alice Munro.” Ottawa Citizen.

October 12, 1883 – on her forty-fifth birthday.13 Her daughters – Bertha, sixteen, and Blanche, fourteen – each went to live with a married aunt, each one a sister to John Stanley. Bertha went to her aunt Nancy, who was married to John Code; Blanche to her aunt Mary, who was married to George Legerwood. For his part, John Stanley left the area and remarried; he subsequently fathered two sons, the first born less than two years after Catherine Clarke’s death, by his second wife, Catherine Kennedy.

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