Not that her stories are a one-note samba. As Charles McGrath wrote in a 2012 New York Times review of the collection Dear Life, "Unlike William Trevor, say, her only living rival ... Munro did not hit a characteristic note early on and then stick with it. Over the years her work has deepened and enlarged."
Daedalus Books has chosen selected works by the Nobel Laureate to inaugurate a new feature on our website called "Spotlight." You can choose from an array of Munro's most renowned titles, all at a discount. They include Lives of Girls and Women, The Moons of Jupiter, Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You, and Too Much Happiness.
After the Nobel Prizes were announced, The New Yorker reprinted Munro's sad and rueful yet sly story “The Bear Came Over the Mountain” (later made into a super film called Away From Her with Julie Christie, directed by Sarah Polley. We have the DVD.) In this New Yorker podcast, Lauren Groff reads Munro’s story “Axis,” and discusses it with the magazine's fiction editor, Deborah Treisman. And in this blog entry, Triesman writes about editing Munro's stories.
10.30 Update: This article about newly discovered letters in the Knopf publishing house archive at the Harry Ransom Center talks about Munro's fiction being rejected because of prejudice against short story collections, her nationality, and their perceived blandness.
“What should we call the combination of obsessive scrutiny, archaeological unearthing, precise and detailed recollection, the wallowing in the seamier and meaner and more vengeful undersides of human nature, the telling of erotic secrets, the nostalgia for vanished miseries, and rejoicing in the fullness and variety of life, stirred all together?”—Margaret Atwood (Introduction to Munro's Collected Stories)
“If short stories are about life and novels are about the world, one can see Munro’s capacious stories as being a little about both: fate and time and love are the things she is most interested in, as well as their unexpected outcomes…. She does not overtly judge—especially human cruelty—but allows human encounters to speak for themselves. She honors mysteriousness and is a neutral beholder before the unpredictable. Her genius is in the strange detail that resurfaces, but it is also in the largeness of vision being brought to bear (and press on) a smaller genre or form that has few such wide-seeing practitioners.”—Lorrie Moore
One letter written in 1968 by Knopf’s editor Judith Jones after reading Munro’s first book of short stories, “Dance of the Happy Shades,” said her book had nothing particularly new or exciting, and it could be easily overlooked. In another letter from Jones to Munro on her first novel, “Lives of Girls and Women,” in 1971, she credited Munro’s style but still rejected the novel for publication. “There’s no question that the lady can write but it’s also clear she is primarily a short story writer,” Jones wrote.I also forgot to include this link to a large group of short stories you can sample for free. Enjoy!