Reading Munro

Lives of Girls and Women - Alice Munro

Lives of girls and women is a serie of connected short-stories about the life of Del Jordan and her family in Jubilee in the south of Canada just after WW2. There are so much I love about this book, her Uncle Benny, married off to the crazy woman/child with a baby after just a notice in the paper and a cup of tea with her brother. Del's mom selling encyclopedias and propagating for birthcontrol and is an atheist in an otherwise christian town. The boarder Fern who sings opera and is the least romantic girl ever who doesn't even save her loveletters. Del's deflowering aboung the peonies, the baptism. There is some sadness too, what started as a we against the world family ends up being divided to the point where even their language seems separate. We don't learn a whole lot about men and boys here. Even if the start is an idyllic one:


But they were connected, and this connection was plain as a fence, it was between us and Uncle Benny, us and the Flats Road, it would stay between us and anything. It was the same as in the winter, sometimes, when they would deal out two hands of cards and sit down at the kitchen table, and play, waiting for the ten o'clock news, having sent us to bed upstairs. And upstairs seemed miles above them, dark and full of the noise of the wind. Up there you discovered what you never remembered down in the kitchen - that we were in a house as small and shut-up as any boat is on the sea, in the middle of a tide of howling weather. They seemed to be talking, playing cards, a long way away in a tiny spot of light, irrelevantly; yet this thought of them, prosaic as a hiccough, familiar as breath, was what held me, what winked at me from the bottom of the well as I fell into sleep.


I really liked this one even though I read it slowly, just a chapter now and then. I will go on to one of Munro's short story collections soon.