Followup on Nobel Prize


Announced today, the recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize for Literature is Alice Munro. Not my choice but still a reasonable one (no, Bob Dylan wasn’t my choice). Did you expect a different result?

I made a comment in my earlier post suggesting that the Nobel Prize seemed to pass over too many great names in literature, enough so that one might question the importance of the prize. Several others have expressed similar views. However, if you stop and consider the complexity of the task, it might be better to continue honoring the esteem of the Nobel selections for literature. Why?

This is what ran through my head when considering the granting of the prize:

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Runaway with Alice Munro

I feel bad that I am going to focus on a Canadian author for this review even though I could identify the same characteristics in fiction from around the world. I’ll just make a brief comment.

Alice Munroe

I really dislike the kind of fiction represented by Alice Munro’s story collection, Runaway. I had only read the first three stories and was already considering either tossing the book in the garbage or committing ritual seppuku. A woman rebels against her husband and runs away only to decide to go back, presumably since the enemy you know is better than the scary world out there where you might find even more problems; a woman meets a man on a train and ends up moving in with him; etc.

This sort of fiction is the literary equivalent of people watching: it’s sunny so take your lunch outside, sit on the edge of the landscape wall, and watch all the people running to and fro … what are their stories? Alice Munro is a very capable writer but her fiction is still a baloney sandwich on white bread with mayo.