Canadian short story writer Alice Munro has won the $60,000 Man Booker International Prize. This is the third awarding of this biennial prize. Unlike the much more well-known Booker Award this one is for the body of work, not just a single one.
The judge’s panel said “Alice Munro is mostly known as a short story writer and yet she brings as much depth, wisdom and precision to every story as most novelists bring to a lifetime of novels’. Hear! Hear! One of my favourite authors I have always felt her portrayal of the contemporary human conditon is superb. She captures the ambiguities of existence better than any one else. Every winter I tend to specialise with one writer. The last three have been Thomas Hardy, Jane Austen and last winter Alice Munro. She keeps good company.
A depression baby like me Munro grew up in SW Ontario. This area has been the major setting for her stories. Her father had a silver fox farm hit hard by the slump. Her descriptions of her family’s and neighbours’ hardships during these times are both bleak and rewarding revealing a deep understanding of human relationships.
I feel she understands men very well while the subtlety of her woman characters is a joy to this reader, often baffled by female complexity. Their dilemmas as they grow up, encounter traditional small-town behaviour, deal with courtship, marriage, break-up, divorce, the troubles of middle age and the loneliness of old age are impressively presented. Her stories are an art form. The spare and lucid prose counterpoints enlightenment and bigotry.
The Bookman is away
3 days ago