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Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography and over one million other books are available for Amazon Kindle. Learn more
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Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives Paperback – May 3, 2011

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Editorial Reviews

Review

How the world sees Alice Munro (and Runaway):
“Alice Munro has a strong claim to being the best fiction writer now working in North America.”
—Jonathan Franzen, The New York Times Book Review

“Cynthia Ozick has said of Munro, that she is our Chekhov. But . . . she is our Flaubert, too. We couldn’t ask for more.”
—Claire Messud, Globe and Mail

“Alice Munro has devoted her career to the short story, and when reading her work it is difficult to remember why the novel was ever invented.”
The Times (U.K.)


From the Hardcover edition.

About the Author

Robert Thacker wrote his M.A. thesis at Waterloo on Alice Munro way back in 1976. Now the professor of Canadian Studies and English at St. Lawrence University, he was for many years the editor of The American Review of Canadian Studies, and is recognized as the academic authority on Alice Munro.


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 696 pages
  • Publisher: Emblem Editions; Updated edition (May 3, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0771085109
  • ISBN-13: 978-0771085109
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.4 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #379,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Robert Thacker is Charles A. Dana Professor of Canadian Studies and English and Associate Dean at St. Lawrence University. His writing has focused on Canada and the U. S., and especially the literatures and cultures of the North American West in their comparative contexts. The fiction and careers of Willa Cather and Alice Munro are of particular interest. A past president of the Western Literature Association, he has also edited the journal of the Association for Canadian Studies in the United States. He is now updating and revising his critical biography of Alice Munro.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Reader in NYC on July 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
As the previous reviewer points out, the treatment of Munro's life here is shallow. But I think the point of a biography is to reveal something about the real life of the public figure. There is nothing intimate or even especially human about this book. The better part of it seems devoted to recording all the praise Munro has ever received by editors, reviewers, etc. No one would buy a $40, 616-page book about Alice Munro if not already convinced that she is an extraordinary writer. I didn't feel I needed to read every scrap of adulation ever accorded to her. I wanted details about her life, her writing process, maybe an in-depth discussion of different stories. She's written tirelessly about adultery, tortured love affairs, estranged daughters. I was hoping for something specific or in-depth about how these themes have informed her own life. Again, that doesn't seem unreasonable for a biography. I'm not saying Thacker was wrong to resist visiting these places, especially as he is so star-struck and respectful of his still-living subject. But I am saying that this book was just too safe and careful to be interesting.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence Siskind on June 15, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Fascinating for the already initiated, for awhile. It includes as much as you're likely to want to know about the background and details of Munro's actual life, personality and her relationship to her work. You're not likely to enjoy the numerous passages reviewing her reviews of the books of stories you better have already read if you're going to bother with this tome.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ulrica Hume on September 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
It's true that there's nothing salacious about this book. Also that, at 600+ pages, it's the weight of a brick. Yet I obsessively read it. Robert Thacker writes well. I found myself wondering who he is. I know that he has "followed" Alice Munro for thirty-five years, because it says so in his bio. It's strange to devout one's life to gathering the (often dry) details of another's, but he has done just that. Thank God he doesn't attempt to explain her stories, rather he fixes them (sometimes ploddingly) to her past. If you can get through Part One: Ancestors, Parents, Home, you'll likely feel quite dizzy as a result. Learning the branches of her family tree is both fascinating and tiresome.

That said, this scholarly work is something I cherish for the perspective it does give. It tells no more than I need to know, for to know too much might destroy the mystery. It tells enough. We learn that Alice Munro struggled, paid attention, was reasonably kind, and that throughout she was true to herself. Oh, and she wrote, since of course that is what a writer does. I don't know if she ever made grape jelly, nor do I particularly want to.
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