October 11, 2013
She won! This phrase joyfully danced in my mind when I woke up yesterday morning to discover that story story writer, Alice Munro, has won the Nobel Prize for Literature (check out her delightful phone conversation with the Nobel team - it is SO her). It was the most delightful surprise and I was giddy all day, sharing the news with anyone I encountered.
In truth, I found myself tearing up at the news because Alice Munro was the subject of my Senior English Thesis in college. I feel like I had an extra roommate in Alice that year. I spent many late nights reading books upon books of literature analysis and writing away in Bapst Library (i.e., Hogwarts) to craft a 125-page monstrosity that I still don't believe captures Munro's true essence as a "short storyist" (inside joke with my thesis advisor - hi, Paul!). Her enigmatic characters and bizarre-yet-so-realistic plot lines bemused me in my efforts to unpack their complexities and elucidate a thesis. I still don't think my thesis does her justice. In fact, going through it last night, I wish I could rewrite parts of it, knowing now what I didn't know then. Knowing about human relationships -- romantic ones, friendships, family. I could probably rewrite every few years as I grow and am changed by time as her characters so often are.
The living I have been doing over the years has enriched my understanding and appreciation for how artfully Munro has captured the human experience in a short story form all her own (they often border on novellas). In fact, my thesis advisor pointed out that she is the first writer to have won the Nobel who is purely a short story writer. As she said, it is a "wonderful thing for the short story."It is a wonderful thing indeed - for the story, for her, and for those that love her.
Photo Source: The New York Times