What stunningly good news this morning–that Alice Munro will receive the Nobel Prize for Literature. And right in so many ways: based on unarguable merit, no political gesturing, no righting of perceived wrongs. And for a master of the short story–how great is that?
For many writers, the short story remains a genre of apprenticeship. It is cultivated in workshops because it is, well, short. A story can be generated (a careful use of that modifier) quickly, shared with peers, discarded or uploaded to some hapless editors of a literary journal. Then on to the next effort, this one in second person and present tense. Most writers are eager to graduate to novels (or screenplays) where the hope of glory and even rare lucre flutters ever bright.
How different to read and savor the stories of Alice Munro. Like Anton Chekhov or Frank O’Connor, Peter Taylor or Flannery O’Connor, they reveal vast spaces within s small sphere, deep resonances in a few deft images, sweeping lines. Think of many of the greatest authors, generally known for their novels, whose short stories are, in fact, often superior. D. H. Lawrence an obvious case in point.
All of this simply by way of a shout of joy. This is splendid news indeed.