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Alice Munro Wins the Nobel Prize: Small People, Big Feelings

October 10, 2013 by Reader's Connection

Dear LifeA fellow who works with my wife had a terrible experience at a funeral, last year–things were handled in a selfish way that left some people out–and right away I thought of Alice Munro’s story “Haven,” which I’d recently read in a magazine and which appears in Munro’s 2012 collection¬†Dear Life. The narrative includes some horridly short-sighted behavior at a funeral.

I wondered whether my wife should mention the story to her friend, but you never know if that’s a good idea.

Alice Munro was awarded the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature, today. Her stories tend to involve people in rural Canada–though they sometimes move to cities–and she has written almost exclusively in short story form. Peter Englund, Permanent Secretary of the Swedish Academy, was interviewed about Munro, and at one point the interviewer used the phrase “small people, big feelings,” to describe Munro’s central subject matter.

Robin Bradford, our fearless fiction Selector, was thinking of putting together a list of Munro titles that I could use in my post, but discovered that we have “around 90 items in our catalog under her name.” And we have titles in all sorts of formats. Dear Life, for example, is also available as an audiobook on CD, a downloadable audiobook, and in large print

The View from Castle Rock

The View from Castle Rock, which Mr. Englund describes as one of his favorites, a mixture of family history and fiction, is available not only as a regular book (is that what I call them?) but also as a downloadable e-book, an audiobook on CD, and in large print.


Open SecretsI’m not a rabid Munro fan, but I always enjoy her stories, and one often stumbles upon them–at least seventeen of them have appeared in annual editions of The Best American Short Stories since 1979. I loved “A Real Life” when I first encountered it in Louise Erdrich’s 1993 Best American selection, and it is included in Munro’s collection
Open Secrets, which is also available as a downloadable ebook.

Do what Robin did. Look for alice munro as an author in our catalog. You’ll be given the chance to witness epochal moments in small, out-of-the-way lives.


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