Open a book this minute and start reading. Don’t move until you’ve reached page fifty. Until you’ve buried your thoughts in print. Cover yourself with words. Wash yourself away. Dissolve. Carol Shields Republic of Love

“What Do You Want to Know For?” Alice Munro

And, “Who Do You Think You Are?”

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

As readers approach the final tale in this collection, it seems appropriate to have it titled with a question.

Whatever might be resolved in the effort of creating a narrative in which to secure one’s ancestors, one could not help but have as many […]

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TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (2 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, running through this month, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories.

Wasn’t I just talking about novels set in bookstores? Yup, in last Friday’s post (here). Gabrielle Zevin’s book fits perfectly on that shelf.

Arsenal Pulp, 2009

But if you’re […]

Susin Nielsen’s We Are All Made of Molecules (2015)

Henry K. Larsen — star of Susin Nielsen’s last novel — was a savvy young fellow: “I know I can’t change my stupid red hair or my stupid freckles. But I can lower my freak flag.”

Tundra Books, 2015

In contrast, Stewart — star of her most recent novel — flies his freak flag […]

“Home” Alice Munro

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

Alice’s father has remarried, and Irlma has made many changes in the house.

“Irlma is a stout and rosy woman, with tinted butterscotch curls, brown eyes in which there is still a sparkle, a look of emotional readiness, of being always on the brink of hilarity. Or on the brink […]

TGIF: In the workplace, on the page (1 of 4)

A new Friday fugue, running through this month, considering the ways in which our working lives appear on the pages of novels and short stories.

Some of my favourite novels spend a good amount of time considering the good amount of time that we spend in our workplaces.

Joshua Ferris’ And Then We Came to […]

“The Ticket” Alice Munro

The title of this story suggests a journey, travel and a destination. But the story itself focuses on the precursors to such events: the preparations and anticipation.

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

Nonetheless, “The Ticket” is preoccupied with the concept of movement, shifting position, moving from one zone to another (or, not).

There are delineations, and […]

“Hired Girl” Alice Munro

In Alice Munro’s first collection, Dance of the Happy Shades, readers meet Alva in “Sunday Afternoon”.

Alva is the hired girl for the Gannetts, who expect that she will dutifully perform in their home and, then, travel with them later in the summer to their parents’ island in Georgian Bay.

McClelland & Stewart, 2006

[…]

Alice Munro’s “Lying Under the Apple Tree”

Whether and how a girl rode a bicycle mattered a great deal in the 1950s in southwestern Ontario, for the young Alice Munro.

2006; Vintage, 2007

“We lived just beyond the town limits, so if I showed up riding a bicycle—and particularly this bicycle—it would put me in the category of such girls. Those […]

“Fathers” Alice Munro

For readers familiar with Alice Munro’s most recent collection, Dear Life, the title of this story will immediately recall “Night”, which she described as being “not quite” a story about her relationship with her father.

Vintage, 2006

“Night” is part of a group of four tales, which she feels are “the first and last — and […]

“Working for a Living” Alice Munro

Many of the themes which resurface in Alice Munro’s fiction play an important role in “Working for a Living”.

2006; Vintage, 2008

One of the first which strikes readers is the question of town versus country, which plays such a predominant role in both Lives of Girls and Women and Who Do You Think […]