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Lives of Girls and Women: A Novel Paperback – February 13, 2001
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Munro is a master of characterization and narrative structure. Del's description of her mother, for example, reveals: (1) Del's feeling of discomfort at her own place within Jubilee's hierarchy and environment; Del wants to fit in, and her mother embodies the eccentric within her own self. (2) Del's mother's strengths, pulling herself from abject poverty, putting herself through school, starting her own business in conservative postwar rural Canada - this woman evokes our admiration, despite the disgust of our narrator. It's these multidimensional portraits that makes Munro so great - yes, a character (Del's mother) can earn our admiration, disgust, and pity all at once...
Then in the building of conflict, Munro ALWAYS surprises us. Every scene is fresh, new, interesting, every culmination of conflict resolves in ways we would never expect. Take the time when Del was being molested by her mother's boarder's boyfriend. One day she goes off with him in his car out to the country, and we're expecting some "Bastard Out of Carolina" child-raping exploitation and subsequent weepy victim hood. But Munro makes a left at the light, has the man simply masturbate in front of the child, who for her part is excited, charmed, and repelled by the sight and is grateful to be introduced to the mystery of the penis.
And lastly, Munro refuses to depict her women in the same, old tired way.Read more ›
There is a very strong scene in the end of the novel, which actually the whole of the novel centers around. This scene takes place in the Wawanash river when Del Jordan is bathing with her truck driver boyfriend Garnet French. In my opinion Alice Munro in that scene carves out an eternal and everlasting moment in the history of litterature. To me the scene is perhaps not so much about religion specifically, but more about human society in general.
As with some great artists, there is something superior and untouchable about Alice Munro. For a rather plain person like me, this strange stuff, is a source of recurrent intellectual itchiness, because I will properly never be able to touch it, define it and put it in a box.
Is the books Ontario town, Jubilee, perhaps inspired by her experiences in the Ontario town, Wingham?
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This book continues my streak of not liking Noble Prize winners. I'm sure it's me. I'm sure my taste, experience, background--all play a role--but I am not on the same page with... Read morePublished 2 days ago by Amazon Customer
Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women is the closest we get to a novel in her oeuvre. Her mainstay is her seemingly prosaic, but actually unsettling and jarring short stories;... Read morePublished 1 month ago by Eric Maroney
The Lives of Girls and Women (1971) is billed as Alice Munro’s only novel. It’s a somewhat autobiographical narrative of a young girl growing up in backwoods Ontario in the 1940s. Read morePublished 5 months ago by M. Buzalka
Best book I have read for a long time. Beautiful language. Honest.Published 12 months ago by Frisco
Del Jordan grows up in small town Jubilee during the depression and the war. Everyone from the hicks and misfits on the Flats Road to the 'sophisticates' in town are trapped one... Read morePublished 13 months ago by An admirer of Saul
Thoroughly enjoyed this book. The nostalgia of the period in time and the events of a girl becoming a woman are universal. Very well-written.Published 13 months ago by docmcrae