Hooray for Alice!
Here at Wow – Canada! we recognize that we’re coming a little late to the “Hooray for Alice Munro” party – although we hope we’re still early enough to be considered fashionably late.
As a Canadian writer, Munro clearly doesn’t fall into our purview, which is references to Canada in books by non-Canadians. We do occasionally make exceptions, however, and as the first Canadian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature, Munro certainly seems worthy of an exception. So congratulations to her. Perhaps she’ll mark the beginning of a run of Canadian winners.
I won’t try to analyze what the award “means,” or make any obvious remarks about how setting her stories (mainly) in small-town Ontario “put Canada on the literary map” or anything like that. But as Canadian book-lovers, we can all relax a little now that our country has produced a Nobel Prize winner.
As for the image above, Lives of Girls and Women is my favourite Munro book – I think because the structure of linked short stories makes it a little more like a novel than a typical story collection. (I have to admit, short stories are my least favourite literary form; interestingly, Russell Smith argues that Munro’s win is not just a victory for Canada, but also a victory for the short story.) I wanted to use a photo of my copy, but I couldn’t find it, so I borrowed this image from another blog because this is the cover on the edition I own. It looks like it was a calculated attempt to cross over into the romance novel market; I bought mine at some university book sale years ago when I needed it for my mandatory Can Lit class. (You couldn’t get an English degree without at least one full credit in Canadian Literature – though as I hope this blog suggests, we can still learn something about our country by reading non-Canadian writers.) Is it needless to point out that the book is better than this cover suggests?
No doubt there will soon be an elegant new edition graced with one of those “Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature” stamps. Perhaps there already is.