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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thacker's artistry
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...
Published on September 10, 2011 by Ulrica Hume

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was a little disappointed
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...
Published on July 21, 2008 by Reader in NYC


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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars I was a little disappointed, July 21, 2008
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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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thacker's artistry, September 10, 2011
This review is from: Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars For the already interested, June 15, 2011
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Lawrence Siskind (Eugene, OR. United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives (Paperback)
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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Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives
Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives by Robert Thacker (Paperback - May 3, 2011)
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