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Alice Munro, Nobel laureate and master of the short story, dies at 92

Alice Munro, the revered Canadian author who began writing short stories because she didn’t think she had the time or talent to master novels, then doggedly dedicated her long career to producing psychologically dense stories that who dazzled the literary world and earned her the Nobel Prize for Literature, died Monday evening at her home in Ontario. She was 92 years old.

His family announced the death, which occurred in a retirement home, to the Canadian newspaper The Globe and Mail.

Ms. Munro was one of a handful of writers, like Katherine Anne Porter and Raymond Carver, who built their reputations in the notoriously difficult literary field of the short story, and did so with great success. Her stories – many of which centered on women at different stages of their lives confronting complex desires – were received so enthusiastically and read with gratitude that she attracted a whole new generation of readers.

Ms. Munro’s stories were widely considered to be second to none, a blend of ordinary people and extraordinary themes. She depicted small-town residents, often in rural southwestern Ontario, facing situations that made fantasy seem like an everyday occurrence. Some of his characters have been so fully developed across generations and continents that readers have achieved a level of intimacy with them that is usually only found in a full-length novel.

It achieved such compactness through exquisite craftsmanship and a degree of precision that did not waste words. Other writers have said that some of her stories were almost perfect, a heavy burden for a writer of modest personal character who had struggled to overcome her lack of self-confidence early in her career when she left the protective embrace of his peaceful hometown. and ventured into the competitive literary scene.

Her insecurity, as powerful as she felt it, was never noticed by her fellow writers who celebrated her skill and freely gave her their highest praise.

The English novelist Edna O’Brien ranked Ms. Munro with William Faulkner and James Joyce among the writers who influenced her work. Joyce Carol Oates has said that her stories “have the density – moral, emotional, sometimes historical – of other writers’ novels.” And the novelist Richard Ford once made it clear that questioning Ms. Munro’s mastery of the short story would be like doubting the hardness of a diamond or the bouquet of a ripe peach.

“With Alice, it’s like a shortcut,” Mr. Ford said. “You’ll just mention her, and everyone usually nods and says she’s as good as it gets.”

In awarding her the Nobel in 2013, when she was 82, the Swedish Academy cited her 14 collections of short stories and called her a “master of the contemporary short story”, praising her ability to “adapt to all the epic complexity of the novel. in just a few short pages.

As famous for the refined exuberance of her prose as for the modesty of her personal life, she refused to go to Sweden to accept her Nobel, saying she was too fragile. Instead of the formal lecture that winners traditionally give, she recorded a lengthy interview in Victoria, Canada, where she had been when her award was announced. When asked if the process of writing her stories had completely consumed her, she said yes, then added “but you know, I always had lunch for my kids.”

Presenting the recorded interview at the Swedish Academy, Swedish actress Pernilla August read an excerpt from Ms. Munro’s story “Washed Away,” a story of decades of disappointed expectations that characterizes the complicated world and often disappointing in his stories. .

“She had her photo taken. She knew how she wanted it to happen,” we read. “She would have liked to wear a simple white blouse, a peasant blouse with the drawstring open at the neck. She did not own a blouse of this description and had in fact only seen them in photos. And she would have liked to let her hair down. Or if it had to be stood up, she would have liked it to be stacked very loosely and connected with strings of pearls.

Instead, she wore her blue silk shirt and tied her hair up as usual. She thought the photo made her look rather pale and hollow-eyed. His expression was sterner and more worrying than she had expected. She sent it anyway.

A full obituary will appear soon.

Gn entert
News Source : www.nytimes.com

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