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The View From Castle Rock - Alice Munro

The View From Castle Rock

Paperback Published: November 2007
ISBN: 9780099497998
Number Of Pages: 368

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On a clear day, you could see 'America' from Edinburgh's Castle Rock u or so said Alice Munro's great-great-great-grandfather, James Laidlaw, when he had drink taken. Then, in 1818, Laidlaw left the parish of 'no advantages', of banked Presbyterian emotions and uncanny tales u where, like his more famous cousin James Hogg, he was born and bred u and sailed to the new world with his family. This is the story of those shepherds from the Ettrick Valley and their descendants, among them the author herself. They were a Spartan lot, who kept to themselves; showing off was frowned on, and fear was commonplace, at least for femalesa But opportunities present themselves for two strong-minded women in a ship's close quarters; a father dies, and a baby vanishes en route from Illinois to Canada; another story hints at incest; childhood is short and hazardous. This is family history where imperfect recollections blur into fiction, where the past shows through the present like the tracks of a glacier on a geological map. First love flowers under an apple tree while lust rears its head in a barn; a restless mother with ideas beyond her station declines painfully; a father farms fox fur and turkeys; a clever girl escapes to college and then into a hasty marriage. Beneath the ordinary landscape there's a different story u evocative, frightening, sexy, unexpected, gripping. Alice Munro tells it like no other.

Industry Reviews

"A collection that sees her delving even deeper and with glittering expertise into a fictional terrain she has made her own for 40 years now" -- Peter Kemp * Sunday Times *
"The pre-eminent master of the short story... all delivered by her spare, wonderful prose" -- David Mattin * Independent on Sunday *
"If there is one writer who proves that the short story should never be deemed the uninspiring younger sibling of the novel, it is Munro" -- Melissa McClements * Financial Times *
"This is a deeply moving and contemplative book. If it is a valediction, then it is a magnificent one" -- Mary Morrissy * Irish Times *
"Mesmerising and cleverly interlinked, these stories are well balanced - neither overly inventive nor stolidly factual. Ms Munro's light touch and her sensitive embellishment of the truth result in a book that is illuminated by the patterns of life repeating themselves over the years" * Economist *

ISBN: 9780099497998
ISBN-10: 0099497999
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 368
Published: November 2007
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.9 x 12.9  x 2.3
Weight (kg): 0.27
Edition Number: 1

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Alice Munro

About the Author


WINNER OF THE 2013 NOBEL PRIZE FOR LITERATURE

Alice Munro was born Alice Laidlaw in 1931, in Wingham, Ontario, Canada. She grew up near the Great Lakes that border the United States and Canada, in rural environs such as are featured in much of her early fiction. She attended public schools and was considered such a good student that she advanced a grade early on. She began writing fiction while in high school, and even wrote a novel during this time which she has said was derivative of Emily Bronte’s famous Wuthering Heights. She won a scholarship to attend the University of Western Ontario and spent two years there as an English major. It was there that she first published short stories, in a university publication. She left the university upon her marriage to James Munro, when the couple moved to British Columbia.

During the 1950s, Munro continued to write while raising her first two daughters. She sold some of her stories to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation for dramatization and radio shows. Munro had a third daughter in 1966, and then in 1968 her first collection of short stories, The Dance of the Happy Shades, was published. ‘‘Boys and Girls’’ is from this first collection of stories. Munro’s only novel was published in 1971. In 1974 a second collection of stories was published. With this third publication Munro established herself as a contemporary writer of note.

Munro has seven published books to her credit, six of which are collections of short stories, making her a specialist in the short story genre. Most national literatures have writers who specialize in this way, another notable author being Anton Chekhov an early twentieth-century Russian writer famous for his short stories. It has often been said, therefore, that Munro is Canada’s Chekhov.

Munro’s fiction is consistently favorably received by critics and the reading public alike, and she has won numerous awards for her writing. She has been invited to be Writer-in-Residence at various universities, including her alma mater, the University of Western Ontario (which conferred her an Honorary D.Litt. in 1976).

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