CM Archive
CM Archive Book Review line

Edited by Louis K. MacKendrich.

Downsview (ON), ECW Press, c1983.
193pp, paper, $8.95.
ISBN 0-920802-72-9.

Grades 12 and up.
Reviewed by Alan Thomas.

Volume 12 Number 3
1984 May

The confident advance of Canadian writing in the past couple of decades has brought critical discussion along with it to a higher level. This is a good book of criticism devoted to one of our best storytellers, Alice Munro. It contains an interview with Munro, which makes a thoroughly accessible and interesting piece of literary biography, and nine essays that are directed generally towards aspects of her narrative technique and her handling of language. Robert Thacker's essay on the double-perspective used by Munro in her stories possesses a soundness and clear-sightedness that establishes a high standard for the collection. Gerald Noonan, similarly, develops a discussion of her strategies of surprise and overturning with sophistication and clarity. This kind of criticism provides an excellent basis for use by students who find Munro's writing strong and subtle and yet difficult to take hold of critically. Dancing ahead of them goes Michael Taylor's article on Alice Munro's delight in words. This is itself a delightful piece that says much and implies more about a fundamental truth of her writing that all too often has been obscured, in critical discussion of Alice Munro, by an emphasis on the elucidation of her themes. In short, this good, stimulating collection serves the student of contemporary Canadian literature and also provides something for the general reader.

Alan Thomas, Scarborough College, University of Toronto, Toronto, ON.
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