Alice Munro is without doubt a very good author – after all she recently won the Nobel Prize for literature. The thing is – and I’m embarrassed to admit this – I just don’t get her. In an earlier blog posting, I applauded her winning the Nobel Prize and was as proud as any Canadian could be. It motivated me to dig out my hard-cover copy of her latest book, “Dear Life” and give it another shot. About three-quarters of the way through the book I gave up – again. While her stories of the people and small town places in southwestern Ontario ring familiar, I find them tedious and depressing, which, as someone who grew up in a small Ontario town is understandable. But her story lines and writing style fail to make me want to turn the page and keep reading. If someone could explain why she was Nobel-worthy I’d be very grateful.
I’m just a simple lover of books, not a student of literature, an academic, a critic or probably even all that smart. So there’s obviously something I’m missing. There are so many other Canadian authors I like better than Alice Munro which makes the criteria for selection from the world-wide pool of Nobel prize contenders even more incomprehensible.
The answer I think lies (more…)