Saturday, November 5, 2016

Short Stories and Alice Munro

AP Photo/Peter Morrison
...I seemed to have developed some kind of old-geezerish resentment of story collections. Is that possible? Is resentment of short fiction a sign of aging, like liver spots? And if it is, then why? As the end of one's life draws closer, surely one should embrace short fiction, not spurn it. And yet I was extremely conscious of not wanting to make the emotional effort at the beginning of each chapter, to the extent that I could almost hear myself grumbling like my grandmother used to. "Who are these people, now? I don't know them. Where did the other ones go? They'd only just got here." (Nick Hornby, More Baths, Less Talking, pp. 102-103)
I have long shared Hornby's impatience with the short story (long before the "aging" he seems obsessed with); I've always been a big-absorbing-novel kind of guy. But Alice Munro has been making me rethink this notion.

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