Alice Munro was recently awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 2013, one of just 13 women to receive such an honor. So naturally, I had to read her book. My friend T recommended I start with The Love of a Good Woman, because he really enjoyed the collection. As you can see, I did.
I honestly enjoy short stories, precisely because they leave me wanting *more.* There’s a craft to writing a good, satisfying short story, and Alice Munro is masterful. The first story, “The Love of a Good Woman,” is novella-length, but it builds a fascinating tension in several angles of a story–you wonder how the town’s boys, the dead eye doctor, and a dying young woman are all connected. But by the end (which was slightly inconclusive), I was both thrilled and desirous of more. The other stories in the collection speak of longing, love, family relationships, restlessness, and so many experiences indicative of the human condition. When we think of “the love of a good woman,” we are led to wonder: is she good? Is the love good? Is the love worth it?
I am definitely going to be teaching Munro when I get to teach literature, and I am going to read all her collections. She has a way with her prose that is descriptive without being overdone, concise but not spare. The Love of a Good Woman, while delving into some heavy subject material, is so well-written that it feels like a pleasure-read.
Let me just treat you to this last image of awesomeness (thanks, Tumblr!). Munro is not able to travel to receive her award, so she and Margaret Atwood celebrated with champagne: