Alice Munro reminds me of a forensic pathologist unearthing truth under each gravestone, and dissecting each bit of tissue she comes across. Her path reports gleam with the clarity of presentation. My new project is to study her collected works over time, but my colleagues are afraid I will be depressed over time from the reality she displays.
I am unafraid because I relate to her inasmuch as she was a pretty, small town girl, unmoneyed, but with determination that amongst other things succeeded in winning the Nobel prize for literature. Who could not relate to that ? I am determined but not pretty. Who would not take advantage of the study of the wordsmith skill seen in the stories ? Who, Canadian , unmoneyed , determined, near her age and a small town boy wouldn't want to read her ?
A friend , Fran who reads fiction extensively, says she always avoided Alice because the work is dark. I suppose in a sense all forensic pathology is dark but it also embodies an interesting truth that the ordinary is so often extraordinary. So I suppose that forensic study of humanity is dark but also embodies truth.
Alice continued to exhume the troughs of her youth, seeking the answers of flesh that was buried that gives rise to new feelings from old shadows. She respects her readers enough to permit a resolution of her stories by themselves. That is both respect and engagement. We don't need our hand held. That can't be possibly depressing. It is therapeutic. It is however a writing scenario that doggedly and consistently records the faltering of humanity, or the ordinary despair, accepted, that surrounds us.
Classification of Alice's autopsy findings should be, Adult Only.
Interestingly I have an inkling that Alice does not write of men who can have significant and lasting relationships with other men. Curiously her capacity to examine relationships as a whole is so acute and perceptive, so why is this so mysterious ? Her men appear to be solitary or only connect to other men mediated primarily through their women. They often appear transient in their relationships. I wonder if this is common in fact in many women authors ?