Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You by Alice Munro

  • Monday, August 14, 2017

Alice Munro received the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013. Long awaited by some critics. She got the Prize for being "master of the contemporary short story". Many of the Laureates of the Nobel Prize in Literature feels like a heavy read and not so accessible. However, lately, I have read a couple of books by Laureates that has been really outstanding. I am thinking of Buddenbrooks by Thomas Mann and L'Herbe des nuits (The Black Notebook) by Patrick Modiano.  I can add another name to the list; Alice Munro

One of her books has been on my shelves for some time, and, finally, I got around to read it. Alice Munro writes short stories, which is not really my cup of tea, although I read them from time to time. This is a time when it was really worth it.

From the back of the cover the Observer notes: "Read not more than one of her stories a day, and allow them to work their spell: they are made to last". I can agree to that, although I read half the book before I left for holiday and half of it when I came back. Her stories are about life, often middle aged people or older people. They all have something to tell about life. Inner thoughts, the world changing around them, problems to keep up or events from the past still lingering on their minds and affecting their whole life.

This is the first lines of a story called "Walking on Water". One of my favourites.
"This was a part of town where a lot of old people still lived, though many had moved to high-rises across the park. Mr Lougheed had a number of friends, or perhaps it would be better to say acquaintances, whom he met every day or so on the way downtown, at the bus stop, or on the walks overlooking the sea. Occasionally he played cards with them in their rooms or apartments. He belonged to a lawn-bowling club and to a club which brought in travel films and showed them, in a downtown hall, during the winter. He had joined these clubs not out of a real desire to be sociable but as a precaution against his natural tendencies, which might lead him, he thought, into becoming a sort of hermit."
The stories are engaging, real and the characters she creates on only a few pages are incredible. You are right into them from the first line of each story. The manage to engage you and make you think about life, what it is and how we live it. Worth reading and reflecting. These stories are some of her earlier ones and was published in 1974 for the first time. I am sure this is not the last time I read Alice Munro, and it would be interesting to read some of her later stories.

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© Read the NobelsMaira Gall