Alice Munro: Canada's 'Chekhov' wins Nobel Prize in Literature
It would have been a 'terrible, terrible omission' if 82-year-old hadn't won award before she died
CANADIAN writer Alice Munro has won the Nobel Prize in Literature. The 82-year-old, who only writes short stories, said she was "amazed, and very grateful" to win the $1.2m prize. Here's what other authors and commentators are saying about a writer described by the New York Times as "the master of the contemporary short story":
Aida Edemariam in The Guardian:"For a long time Alice Munro has been compared with Chekhov; John Updike would add Tolstoy, and AS Byatt would say Guy de Maupassant and Flaubert. Munro is often called the best living writer of short stories in English; the words 'short story' are frequently dropped."
Alice Munro winning Nobel would be a tribute to the great art form of the short story as well as its its most brilliant practitioner
— Simon Schama (@simon_schama) October 10, 2013
BBC arts editor Will Gompertz: Munro has been "at the very top of her game since she started," he says. "Very few writers are her equal... she gets to the heart of what it is to be human". The odds were against her because "she's not overtly political" and in recent times the Nobel Committee have gone for political writers. The award "probably won't make a commercial difference" to Munro, but it "makes a huge difference to how her work will be viewed in historical terms," he says. "If she hadn't won it before she died, I think it would have been a terrible, terrible omission."
Many congrats to Alice Munro. When I edited Best American Short Stories I wanted to pick 3 of hers. A true master of the form. #NobelPrize
— Salman Rushdie (@SalmanRushdie) October 10, 2013
Cathleen Schine in the New York Review of Books: "Alice Munro is not only revered, she is cherished, her stories handled lovingly, turned over and over, gazed at and studied and breathed in with something approaching awe. She has never, over the years, written the way any of her contemporaries have. Her stories are open, overflowing with life, unlike the curt and obscure minimalist stories so fashionable in the Seventies and Eighties. But no one could accuse her of being traditional, either."
I once rode an elevator with #AliceMunro and was so starstruck I couldn't sputter out a single word.
— Martha Leonard (@marthareads) October 10, 2013
Christian Lorentzen in the London Review of Books: Lorentzen caused a "firestorm" in June when attacked the veneration of Munro by fellow authors and critics. "There's something confusing about the consensus around Alice Munro," he wrote. "It has to do with the way her critics begin by asserting her goodness, her greatness, her majorness or her bestness, and then quickly adopt a defensive tone, instructing us in ways of seeing as virtues the many things about her writing that might be considered shortcomings."
Philip Maughan in the New Statesman: Lorentzen "may need to go into hiding" now that Munro has won the Nobel. "Munro has long been considered a ‘writer's writer'," he says, and with good reason. "Her stories deal with small-town life in and around the Great Lakes, and themes of gender, memory and missed opportunities, though they are best described as 'long short stories' given that they often exceed the traditional structure of the short story both in narrative time (her stories are frequently non-linear) and word count." ·