Monday, October 31, 2011

Alice Munro

Russ Scurr’s review of Alice Munro’s New Selected Stories in the TLS is itself something that aficionados of Alice Munro’s work should run to read (“The Darkness of Alice Munro,” TLS, 10/4/11). If you subscribe to the TLS you now have automatic access to their online edition and if you haven’t read this review/essay you should, for the locutions alone. In analyzing a Munro story called “Chance” from 2004, Scurr zeros in on one of the characters, a 21 year old PhD  candidate named Juliet who happens to be reading E.R. Dodds’ The Greeks and the Irrational while riding on a train. The young woman pushes off the advances of a man who then commits suicide just as her period intensifies, one bloody act superimposed upon the other. Scurr goes back to Dodds’ book which begins with the following quote from William James, “The recesses of feeling, the darker, blinder states of character, are the only places in the world in which we catch real fact in the making.”  Scurr goes on to say, “Munro centers her fiction on catching real fact in the making in precisely this Jamesian sense. Her characters are meticulously located…Through their specific constrained lives she probes the human condition…she explores the irrational states associated with dreaming, sexually desiring and murdering. Her characters are almost case studies; her artistry in creating and observing them recalls the  close attention and cool detachment of a psychoanalyst.”  Munro’s stories, which have appeared in The New Yorker for years are deceptive since they mostly take place in provincial Canadian towns. The fact that they are really tales and not the kind of modernist collages that sometimes appear in The New Yorker sometimes draws attention away from the subtlties of Munro's sophisticated style that as Scurr points out proceeds “through hiatus and interruption.” Scurr’s review/essay elucidates both the intellectual ambition and emotional profundity of Munro’s work.

1 comment:

  1. Hola, quizás os interese saber que tenemos una colección que incluye el relato 'The Progress of Love' de Alice Munro en versión original conjuntamente con el relato 'Death by Landscape' de Margaret Atwood.

    El formato de esta colección es innovador porque permite leer directamente la obra en inglés sin necesidad de usar el diccionario al integrarse un glosario en cada página.

    Tenéis más info de este relato y de la colección Read&Listen


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