By Harold Bloom (Editor)
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Additional info for Alice Munro (Bloom's Modern Critical Views)
The typical writer in Munro’s fiction is, then, ambivalent about her work but driven to do it. She struggles for representative accuracy, which failures of love and/or talent undercut. Munro’s writers labor to connect memory and identity, and the problems inherent in such connection provide the central conflicts of Munro’s fiction. But always, connection itself is the subsuming theme. Three kinds of connection are especially important to the Munro Weltanschauung: travel, the connection of one place to another in a journey replete with metaphorical meaning; change, the connection between past and present; and sexual love, probably the most fundamental and highly problematic of human connections.
Rasporich, Beverly J. Dance of the Sexes: Art and Gender in the Fiction of Alice Munro. Edmonton: U of Alberta P, 1990. Wiseman, Adele. Chinada: Memoirs of the Gang of Seven. Dunvegan: Quadrant, 1982. G eorgeann M u rphy The Art of Alice Munro: Memory, Identity, and the Aesthetics of Connection A lice Munro’s first collection of stories, Dance of the Happy Shades, published in 1968, won her the Canadian Governor General’s Award but little fame. Her second book, however, Lives of Girls and Women, found in 1971 a wider audience, one ready to declare her “an important new talent”—even though she had been publishing fiction for nearly twenty years.
As a writer of narratives whose recurring subject is the past and the use we make of it, who stubbornly insists on a thing called truth while repeatedly despairing of our ability to reach it, Munro appears not to endorse such an ultimately barren and rep- 34 Katherine J. Mayberry etitious narrative strategy, valorizing instead those narrative strategies (like the one practiced by the narrator of “Hard-Luck Stories”) more dedicated to, if not more capable of, approximating truth. 2 Like Julie’s stories, the narrator’s single story in “Hard-Luck Stories” is about a man’s manipulation of a vulnerable woman.