I have mad love for the bunch of great women in my book club, so it seems like I should be all over this…

First of all, let me tell you a bit about our host, Julie. Julie is perfection as a hostess, making sure everyone is at ease, planning that there are nibblies for all, and keeping drinks filled through the night. She’s sweet and thoughtful, and it shows here. Lest you think she’s all too darling, she also has a bit of an edge to keep you on your toes and laughing.

Julie is in publishing, and a smart, ambitious thing she is, too. She’s sharp as a tack, and reads every piece of good new literary fiction going, it seems. She’s always right on the leading edge, but still grounded in strong writing. She enjoys the disturbing, and even has a bit of a taste for horror. She is well into CanLit, as well, and a big fan of Alice Munro, so she chose to share her with us this month.

love of a good woman.jpgLove of a Good Woman
by Alice Munro

Penguin
ISBN: 978 0 140 28194 1
Audience: adults

Alice Munro is a master of short stories, and has written critically acclaimed and much-beloved several collections, placing her firmly in the canon of CanLit authors. Her stories are set in small towns, and look at the lives of, for the most part, women. Mothers figure largely, but as Julie noted, are often disconnected from their children in her work.

The story we focused our discussion on mostly was in fact about a woman whose baby was often cared for by her sister, and who died in its mother’s care. It is, curiously, narrated by the baby, which made for a quirky tale, and there was lots to talk about there.

The thing that was interesting for me was that the discussion confirmed my feeling about the appeal of Alice Munro’s stories. My mom and a few of my friends have loved them, while they have always made me a little crazy. I have long suspected that people who grew up in small towns loved them because she captures small town life so perfectly, while myself and a couple of friends who grew up in the city really don’t get some of the decisions and choices made by the characters. This bore out in book club this week – Lisa, who grew up in the city, also agreed that she hadn’t connected to them, while two of our former small town girls talked about how they knew these people. This in not universal, of course, but a strong pattern among people I know.

It seems, then, that this will be a must-read for those of you from smaller places, and definitely one to try for those who did not. I am not, after all, about to tell someone that they shouldn’t even try someone who is an acknowledged superstar and superlative writer, just because she is not to my own tastes! You may love her, if you’re not already a fan.

Also available as an ebook.

  • Tracey

    That she captures small town life so well… perhaps that’s the reason Alice Munro hasn’t resonated with me as much as some other CanLit authors… curious. But, she has such a lovely use of language, always. I should give it a go, maybe.
    Thanks for the review!!

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