Alice MunroShort Story Virtuoso
Munro’s short stories contain whole lives within their frames.
In addition to writing some of the most nuanced, engaging prose in contemporary fiction, Alice Munro has been blessed with a seemingly inexhaustible wellspring of stories, populated by some of the most believable characters to be found in any era's fiction. Munro expresses the lives of both her male and female characters with enviable wisdom and authority, creating surprises that spring off nearly every page and resound with the charge of "real" experience. And she isn't afraid to cast a light into some of the darker aspects of existence. Murders, suicides, domestic violence, and messy divorces are squarely addressed, yet, by balancing these elements with stunningly observed commonplace details and an urgent sense of compassion, Munro never lets the material bleed over into melodrama. Her ability to sculpt her stories, to know where to place emphasis, or when to reveal the turning point--the effects of her finely tuned instincts--are among the many rich pleasures of reading her work. It's not uncommon for one of her stories to come to its logical end in the middle of its telling, only to continue and finish on a resonant detail from an almost forgotten moment in a character's life that serves as the more artful place to stop. As various and compelling as life itself, Munro's ingeniously constructed wonders contain whole lives within their frames.