When I found out today that Alice Munro had won the Nobel Prize for Literature, my immediate reaction was: “Wait, she didn’t have it already?”
Seriously, Alice Munro is a pinnacle of literary excellence. Her novels and short stories are extraordinary in their realism, and their ability to draw you into a vibrant narrative and hold you there. Though I’m not a huge fan of classic or contemporary literature (much more a genre fiction person) I have never read something by Ms. Munro that I didn’t enjoy. Coming from someone who lives for action-packed speculative fiction, that statement definitely carries some weight.
So while I congratulate Ms. Munro on this incredible accomplishment, I still can’t help but wonder why it took so long for the Nobel committee to realize she deserved it. Is it because she’s Canadian? I think that somewhere between the era of Vimy Ridge and Frederick Banting the world has moved beyond the collective belief that Canada isn’t good for anything. Is it because she’s only earned it now? Really? Alice Munro’s publishing history is vast, and it’s not like she’s only been appreciated recently; her first collection of stories in 1968 won the Governor General’s award. Who knows?
Regardless, this is an amazing achievement, and well-deserved. Hopefully it’s a fitting send-off for Ms. Munro as she begins her life of retirement.