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Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography

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This is "the" book about one of the world's great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine. For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro's life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro's admirers everywhere. By This is "the" book about one of the world's great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine. For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro's life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro's admirers everywhere. By following "the parallel tracks" of Alice Munro's life and Alice Munro's texts, he gives a thorough and revealing account of both her life and work. "There is always a starting point in reality," she once said of her stories, and this book reveals just how often her stories spring from her life. The book is chronological, starting with her pioneer ancestors, but with special attention paid to her parents and to her early days growing up poor in Wingham. Then all of her life stages -- the marriage to Jim Munro, the move to Vancouver, then to Victoria to start the bookstore, the three daughters, the divorce, the return to Huron County, and the new life with Gerry Fremlin -- leading to the triumphs as, story by story, book by book, she gains fame around the world, until rumours of a Nobel Prize circulate . . .


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This is "the" book about one of the world's great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine. For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro's life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro's admirers everywhere. By This is "the" book about one of the world's great authors, Alice Munro, which shows how her life and her stories intertwine. For almost thirty years Robert Thacker has been researching this book, steeping himself in Alice Munro's life and work, working with her co-operation to make it complete. The result is a feast of information for Alice Munro's admirers everywhere. By following "the parallel tracks" of Alice Munro's life and Alice Munro's texts, he gives a thorough and revealing account of both her life and work. "There is always a starting point in reality," she once said of her stories, and this book reveals just how often her stories spring from her life. The book is chronological, starting with her pioneer ancestors, but with special attention paid to her parents and to her early days growing up poor in Wingham. Then all of her life stages -- the marriage to Jim Munro, the move to Vancouver, then to Victoria to start the bookstore, the three daughters, the divorce, the return to Huron County, and the new life with Gerry Fremlin -- leading to the triumphs as, story by story, book by book, she gains fame around the world, until rumours of a Nobel Prize circulate . . .

30 review for Alice Munro: Writing Her Lives: A Biography

  1. 5 out of 5

    Ruth

    Thacker assumes that everyone who reads his book has already read all of Alice Munro's stories, which was certainly not the case for me. He spends much time on reviews of the books, which gets to be a bit TOO much, as almost all of them are quite gushing. However, this is a very solid bio and well worth reading. It took me almost 5 years to finish the book just because it has SO many pages and I now prefer to read on Kobo, as I can blow up the font to a very comfortable level. So one of my New Y Thacker assumes that everyone who reads his book has already read all of Alice Munro's stories, which was certainly not the case for me. He spends much time on reviews of the books, which gets to be a bit TOO much, as almost all of them are quite gushing. However, this is a very solid bio and well worth reading. It took me almost 5 years to finish the book just because it has SO many pages and I now prefer to read on Kobo, as I can blow up the font to a very comfortable level. So one of my New Year's resolutions was to buy the Kobo version and read again from page 1. So yes, I own it twice, but my paper copy is still pristine, AND signed by the biographer. I also was inspired to inventory the Alice Munro books that I own (eight of them) and discovered that I have a hardcover autographed by her as well, no doubt from a 1990 reading at Harbourfront in Toronto (before I had children, when I used to go out). I will now read more of her stories, even if I have to buy all her books again in e-format!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Lise Pomerleau

    A very thorough recounting of Alice Munro's personal and literary journey. I found the first third of the book captivating, telling about her early life and influences on her desire to become a writer. I discovered that she was already a gifted writer as a young person, and who her influences were (LM Montgomery (same here!) and Eudora Welty (new to me). I want to pursue reading the books and short stories which influenced her. She described so well how writing was her way into the world, helpin A very thorough recounting of Alice Munro's personal and literary journey. I found the first third of the book captivating, telling about her early life and influences on her desire to become a writer. I discovered that she was already a gifted writer as a young person, and who her influences were (LM Montgomery (same here!) and Eudora Welty (new to me). I want to pursue reading the books and short stories which influenced her. She described so well how writing was her way into the world, helping her to feel whole and fulfilled. She had no choice but to write her lives. It overtook every other aspect of her existence. She chose the life of the "dark artist," rather than the traditional wife and mother. As the book progressed and got into details of agents and contracts, I lost interest and skimmed the rest, just looking for glimpses of Alice's writing process, which I learned is intuitive and highly autobiographical (though she claimed it isn't). Anyone who wants the nitty gritty details of her progress as a literary superstar might be interested in the last two thirds of the book. Thacker is the authority on Alice Munro, par excellence. When I read the Nobel Prize committee's description of her, it sounded as if they had lifted it right from this book. There is no author's credit though. Which is strange. Though Thacker's book was published in 2004, it definitely presages Munro's Nobel Prize win. He and of course many others, already recognized her world class standing and exceptional skills which will stand the test of time.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Janet

    A wonderful Alice Munro biography and reference to writings. I actually "read" this over a 4 year period when I was researching Alice while I read her short stories. A wonderful Alice Munro biography and reference to writings. I actually "read" this over a 4 year period when I was researching Alice while I read her short stories.

  4. 5 out of 5

    James F

    A biography of this year's Nobel laureate in literature, although written in 2001, revised in 2010. Her biography is nothing surprising if you've read any of her books, which are all partly autobiographical. This concentrates a lot on the publishing history of her books and her relationships with her editors, rather than her private life; yet although talking about the books it has little of substance about the stories themselves. It also quotes far too much from reviews of her books. OK, but no A biography of this year's Nobel laureate in literature, although written in 2001, revised in 2010. Her biography is nothing surprising if you've read any of her books, which are all partly autobiographical. This concentrates a lot on the publishing history of her books and her relationships with her editors, rather than her private life; yet although talking about the books it has little of substance about the stories themselves. It also quotes far too much from reviews of her books. OK, but not outstanding.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Sara

    You have to really love Alice to enjoy this book, but I do, so I did. I appreciated the thoroughness and level of detail, but also the way Thacker allowed himself to come to some of his own conclusions. By the time you reached his opinion, you trusted it because he'd already proved how unbelievably well-researched the text is. He may literally have read not only every single thing she has ever written, but also everything that's ever been written about her. I bow to him. You have to really love Alice to enjoy this book, but I do, so I did. I appreciated the thoroughness and level of detail, but also the way Thacker allowed himself to come to some of his own conclusions. By the time you reached his opinion, you trusted it because he'd already proved how unbelievably well-researched the text is. He may literally have read not only every single thing she has ever written, but also everything that's ever been written about her. I bow to him.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Marguerite

    This book gives stunning insight into how a writer of genius takes everyday dross and adolescent embarrassment and spins it into literary gold. It prompted me to reread the Alice Munro collections I already owned and scan bookstore shelves for the ones I didn't. (I could have borrowed them from the local library, but then I would have had part with them after three weeks.) This book gives stunning insight into how a writer of genius takes everyday dross and adolescent embarrassment and spins it into literary gold. It prompted me to reread the Alice Munro collections I already owned and scan bookstore shelves for the ones I didn't. (I could have borrowed them from the local library, but then I would have had part with them after three weeks.)

  7. 4 out of 5

    Mariana

    I'm glad to read this biography of a great writer. I bought this and a volume of her short stories at Munro's Books in Victoria in August. I learned about the business of being a writer. I look forward to reading her short stories. I'm glad to read this biography of a great writer. I bought this and a volume of her short stories at Munro's Books in Victoria in August. I learned about the business of being a writer. I look forward to reading her short stories.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Jayne

    Full of detail, it is a careful telling of times, events and talent of an immensely private person. One can tell it is the product of a dissertation. A valuable resource.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Sylvia Abrams

    A scholarly review of Alice Munro's writing career, not much personal life after the dissolution of Munro's first marriage. The author's encyclopedic knowledge of Munro makes thie tome slow going. A scholarly review of Alice Munro's writing career, not much personal life after the dissolution of Munro's first marriage. The author's encyclopedic knowledge of Munro makes thie tome slow going.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Pauline Saunders

  11. 5 out of 5

    Pamela Stanford

  12. 4 out of 5

    Steve

  13. 5 out of 5

    Karen

  14. 4 out of 5

    Jill Lim

  15. 4 out of 5

    Jasmine Mckay

  16. 5 out of 5

    Jindi

  17. 5 out of 5

    Han Fah

  18. 4 out of 5

    Nancy Strite

  19. 4 out of 5

    Marcia

  20. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  21. 4 out of 5

    Debbie

  22. 4 out of 5

    Elijah

  23. 5 out of 5

    Adele

  24. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

  25. 5 out of 5

    Margaret

  26. 4 out of 5

    Sun

  27. 5 out of 5

    Linda

  28. 4 out of 5

    emily

  29. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Glenna

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