Vintage Munro | Alice Munro

Short stories month continues with another author I’ve never read before, Nobel Prize winner Alice Munro, often cited as the greatest short story writer of our time. I heard it said recently that a short story collection should be greater than the sum of its parts, and I concur. ‘Vintage Munro’ is a greatest hits compliation rather than a studio album, so to speak, so it was never going to pass the sum of its parts test, but I thought it would be a good place to start given Ms Munro’s vast back catalogue.

Frankly, my dear, I was underwhelmed.

I’m ok with uneventful stories about unexceptional people, but I didn’t get anything at all off Alice Munro. Too family-centred. Too much extraneous detail and extraneous characters, too much backstory, too much physical description, humdrum dialogue, humdrum prose, no dynamic. Just flat.

I feel like a philistine saying this and I’m clearly missing something here – who am I to argue with the Nobel Prize judges – but I was b o r e d. Maybe I should have started with a proper collection, but this didn’t encourage me to explore further.