Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Reading Alice Munro, 1973–2013

Academic journal article British Journal of Canadian Studies

Reading Alice Munro, 1973–2013

Article excerpt

Robert Thacker, Reading Alice Munro, 1973-2013 (Calgary: University of Calgary Press, 2016), 320 pp. Paper. $34.95. ISBN 978-1-55238-839-6.

Reading Alice Munro, 1973-2013 charts a dual story: that of Munro and that of her biographer, bibliographer, and critic Robert Thacker. As Thacker reveals in his introduction, the 1970s was an especially propitious period both for Munro, whose writing was gaining increased scholarly attention, and for Canadian literature. In 1973-4, Thacker, then a twenty-two-year-old recent graduate, discovered Munro's 'Material' in the Tamarack Review (the story was subsequently collected in Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You (1974)). Munro and Willa Cather will become the principal foci of Thacker's scholarship: his major projects on Munro include an annotated bibliography (1984) and a biography (2005, rev. 2011). I myself had discovered Munro in a similarly formative and equally exciting moment in the 2000s when I was assigned 'Open Secrets', the titular story of her 1994 collection. Subsequent encounters with Dance of the Happy Shades (1968) and Runaway (2004) during my undergraduate studies immersed me into the worlds of her fiction.

Reading Alice Munro, 1973-2013 brings together 16 essays written over four decades and it aims 'to track a perpetually deepening fascination with Munro's writing, and because of that writing and its effects, with her life and the trajectory of her writing career' (p. 4). Thacker introduces us to Munro and to Munro criticism and, in so doing, 'define[s] her emergence and ... contextualise[s] that emergence within Canadian literature during the last decades of the previous century and the first years of the current one' (p. …

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