Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Differently – Alice Munro

Alice Munro, at the age of two or three, in her home town of Wingham, Ontario. PHOTOGRAPH COURTESY ALICE MUNRO

My sixth encounter with Munro in the BASS. Below are links to my entries on her earlier stories in the anthology.

I had a little trouble with this story ( As I always seem to have with Munro). Perhaps because I’m still a little rusty. Initially I felt a connection to the story and it stirred feelings about our recent move across town and the frequent visits we make to our old neighborhood and the feelings that surface during these visits.

Midway through though I felt the story shift a bit and I felt a bit like I was reading Updike.

From the Contributor’s Notes section:

“Differently” is an attempt to deal with a place and time in the lives of thirtyish people. Victoria. The period 1968-1974 (?). A peculiar hecticness, destructiveness, happiness, wildness, open play-acting about those years, intensity of friendships and love affairs. Almost a late outbreak of adolescence. Not necessarily to be regretted or deplored or hankered after, just described.

I had a great comment from “Anonymousafter struggling through another Munro story “Circle of Prayer” –

Maybe you just don't fully appreciate Alice Munro's writings---their beauty, grace, and subtlety. The strength of her stories lies in their quiet messages and nuanced meanings. She rarely makes her stories conspicuously understood on initial reading, and sometimes a second and much careful reading is necessary to get down to what she intends primarily to convey in the scenes and situations she writes about.

I love this comment. I agree that at times I do have difficulty seeing the “quiet messages and nuanced meanings” – I do need to look deeper – and I appreciate a reader out there defending Munro and helping me figure this whole thing out. 

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