Collage of books by Alice Munro

Author Insights

Remembering Alice Munro, Canadian writer & short story master

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May 15, 2024

Canadian writer and Nobel laureate Alice Munro passed away earlier this week on May 13 at the age of 92. She’s been called the master of the short story, having written 13 collections of short stories, a novel, Lives of Girls and Women, and two volumes of Selected Stories. Not only was she one of the few women to have won the Nobel Prize in Literature, which she did in 2013, she was also awarded the Man Booker International Prize in 2009, and was celebrated around the world for her ability to blend ordinary lives with extraordinary themes.

Here are just a few of Munro’s acclaimed short story collections, including her last, Dear Life, published in 2012. Celebrate the life and legacy of the revered author by borrowing one of these books.

The Love of a Good WomanThe Love of a Good Woman

In eight stories, a master of the form extends and magnifies her great themes — the vagaries of love, the passion that leads down unexpected paths, the chaos hovering just under the surface of things, and the strange, often comical desires of the human heart.


The View from Castle RockThe View from Castle Rock

A young boy, taken to Edinburgh’s Castle Rock to look across the sea to America, catches a glimpse of his father’s dream. Scottish immigrants experience love and loss on a journey that leads them to rural Ontario. Wives, mothers, fathers, and children move through uncertainty, ambivalence, and contemplation in these stories of hopes, adversity, and wonder. This collection reveals what is most essential in Munro’s art: her compassionate understanding of ordinary lives.


Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, MarriageHateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage

A tough-minded housekeeper jettisons the habits of a lifetime because of a teenager’s practical joke. A college student visiting her brassy, unconventional aunt stumbles on an astonishing secret and its meaning in her own life. An incorrigible philanderer responds with unexpected grace to his wife’s nursing-home romance. This collection is Munro at her best: tirelessly observant, serenely free of illusion, deeply and gloriously humane.


RunawayRunaway

This acclaimed collection also contains the celebrated stories that inspired the Pedro Almodóvar film Julieta.

Runaway is a book of extraordinary stories about love and its infinite betrayals and surprises, from the title story about a young woman who, though she thinks she wants to, is incapable of leaving her husband, to three stories about a woman named Juliet and the emotions that complicate the luster of her intimate relationships. In Munro’s hands, the people she writes about — women of all ages and circumstances, and their friends, lovers, parents, and children — become as vivid as our own neighbors.


Too Much HappinessToo Much Happiness

With clarity and ease, Munro once again renders complex, difficult events and emotions into stories about the unpredictable ways in which men and women accommodate and often transcend what happens in their lives. In the first story a young wife and mother, suffering from the unbearable pain of losing her three children, gains solace from a most surprising source. In another, a young woman, in the aftermath of an unusual and humiliating seduction, reacts in a clever if less-than-admirable fashion. Other tales uncover the “deep-holes” in a marriage, the unsuspected cruelty of children, and, in the long title story, the yearnings of a 19th-century female mathematician.


Dear LifeDear Life

In story after story in this brilliant collection, Alice Munro pinpoints the moment a person is forever altered by a chance encounter, an action not taken, or a simple twist of fate. Her characters are flawed and fully human: a soldier returning from war and avoiding his fiancée, a wealthy woman deciding whether to confront a blackmailer, an adulterous mother and her neglected children, a guilt-ridden father, a young teacher jilted by her employer. Illumined by Munro’s unflinching insight, these lives draw us in with their quiet depth and surprise us with unexpected turns. And while most are set in her signature territory around Lake Huron, some strike even closer to home: an astonishing suite of four autobiographical tales offers an unprecedented glimpse into Munro’s own childhood.

*Title availability may vary by library & region.

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About the Author

Annie Suhy has been working in the book industry since 2006. When she’s not working, practicing yoga, or petting cats, she’s doing paint-by-numbers and buying more plants. An avid poetry fan, her favorite collection is "The Splinter Factory" by Jeffrey McDaniel.

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