Publication Order of Standalone Novels
Publication Order of Short Stories
Publication Order of Short Story Collections
|Dance of the Happy Shades||(1968)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Something I've Been Meaning to Tell You||(1974)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Beggar Maid||(1978)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Moons of Jupiter||(1982)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Progress of Love||(1986)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Friend of My Youth||(1990)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Open Secrets||(1994)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Selected Stories, 1968-1994||(1996)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The Love of a Good Woman||(1998)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Hateship, Friendship, Courtship, Loveship, Marriage||(2001)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|No Love Lost||(2003)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Vintage Munro||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Runaway||(2004)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Carried Away||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|The View from Castle Rock||(2006)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Too Much Happiness||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|My Best Stories||(2009)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|New Selected Stories||(2011)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Dear Life||(2012)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Lying Under the Apple Tree||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
|Family Furnishings: Selected Stories, 1995-2014||(2014)||Hardcover Paperback Kindle|
Alice Munro is a short story writer who hails from Canada. Her contemporaries describe her as having revolutionized the art of writing short stories. Her short stories start from unexpected places and tend to move backward and forward in time. She was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013 as a ‘master of the contemporary short story’. Other than the prestigious award, she has won several other accolades including the Governor General’s Award, the Man Booker International Prize, and the Giller Prize.
Alice Ann Laidlaw was born on July 10 1931 in Wingham, Ontario, Canada. Her mother was a schoolteacher while her father was a fur farmer. She wrote and published her first story in 1950 while she was still a teenager. The story was ‘The Dimensions of a Shadow’, and she wrote the short story while undertaking a two-year scholarship at the University of Western Ontario.
While still at the university, where she was majoring in journalism and English, she also worked as a library clerk, a tobacco picker, and a waitress. She left the university in 1951 to marry James Munro, a student at the same university. The couple moved to West Vancouver where James had secured a job in a department store. The couple moved to Victoria in 1963 and opened the Munro’s Books, a large and independent bookstore that is still operational to this day.
The bookstore has grown to become one of the most magnificent bookstores in Canada. James Munro claimed that Alice began to write after reading the paperbacks in the bookstore. The couple stocked paperbacks in the bookstore and after reading some of them, she professed that she could write better books than those authors could. Alice Munro has not had any dealings with the bookstore for years now owing to her separation from her first husband in 1972.
Her first collection of stories, ‘Dance of the Happy Shades’ was completed in 1968. The short stories’ collection won the Governor General’s Award, which was the highest literary award in Canada at the time. Her next collection of stories was the ‘Lives of Girls and Women’, which was completed in 1971. The collection earned her the Canadian Bookseller’s Award in the same year. In 1978, she published a collection of interlinked stories named ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ The collection earned her another Governor General’s Literary Award.
From the 1980’s, Munro has published a collection of short stories every four years. Her collections have been translated to at least thirteen languages. First versions of her work have appeared in various publications including The Paris Review, The Atlantic Monthly, The New Yorker, and Grand Street. One of her stories, ‘The Bear Came Over The Mountain’ was adapted for the screen in 2006. In addition, ‘Lives of Girls and Women’ was adapted for television in 1994 airing on CBC Television. Literary research into her works has also been undertaken since the 1970s to date. The first PhD thesis on her completed works at the time was published in 1972.
‘The Dance of the Happy Shades’ written in 1968 was set in Ontario, Canada. The stories were set in an earlier time, probably in the 1940s or in the 1950s. The stories revolve around girls or young women who are the main protagonists in the tales. The females are usually at a point in their lives when they are becoming aware of the chaotic but powerful effect of sex. During this stage in their lives, they are also beginning to comprehend the complexity of gender-ascribed roles in the society.
‘Lives of Girls and Women’ is the author’s second published work. The stories are about the coming of age of the main character, Del Jordan. The character grows up in the outskirts of Ontario and comes of age in Jubilee, a southern Ontario town. Del is seen to be an outsider who is secretly bored with small town life. She does not want to acknowledge that there could be similarities between herself and her mother, who is also seeking to expand beyond the limited experiences in Jubilee. The collection of stories demonstrates many feminist ideas. Very few men play significant roles in the collection of stories.
Style of Writing
Munro begins most of her short stories with little indication of where the story will end up. The reader cannot presume the theme or the plot of the story while at the beginning. The reason for this is that Munro engineers the story in such a way that it moves off in unexpected directions. The reader is usually left pondering over something at the end of the story or sensing that the world is a confused and messy place. Furthermore, many of the titles to her short stories give little inclination as to what the story is actually about. The reader simply does not know what to expect at the beginning of the story or how he will feel at the end of it.
She also presents a strong regional focus, with most of her writings set in Huron County in Ontario. Most of her writings are about characters, mostly female, who confront deep-rooted traditions and beliefs. These beliefs usually revolve around gender roles. The stories tell of how these characters grapple with the role they are supposed to play in the society. Her male characters are usually average individuals who do not question the roles ascribed to them by society based on their gender.
A constant theme in Munro’s literary works is the dilemmas that young girls have to face when coming of age. The young girls have to come to terms with the realization that their gender dictates everything about them. The young girls are also forced to grapple with the realization that they may never get out of the small town. However, in recent works such as Runaway that was published in 2004, Munro has shifted focus to the emotional and physical problems that women have to endure when they are middle-aged.
Alice Munro won her first Governor General’s Award with the collection ‘Dance of the Happy Shades’ in 1968. She won her second Governor General’s Award in 1978 and won the award for a third time in 1986. She was awarded the Edward MacDowell Medal in 2006. Munro received the Man Booker International Prize in 2009 for her lifetime’s collection of short stories. In October 2013, Munro became the first Canadian in history and the thirteenth woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature.Book Series In Order » Authors » Alice Munro