I just recently finished reading Alice Munro's most recent short fiction collection, Dear Life. I enjoyed it tremendously. And it is easy to enjoy Alice Munro's fiction--though serious, she is never grim. In many of her stories there is a spirit that finds life (in all its complications, disappointments, confusions) nevertheless fascinating and even enchanting.
Now a Nobel laureate, Munro enjoys an international reputation, one that's likely secure for generations to come. But I hope we never lose sight of our Alice Munro, because she is one of Canada's most important regional writers. Her region is southwestern Ontario during the mid-twentieth century decades, back when there were no wineries and no cappuccinos. Back when southwestern Ontario was a smaller place, a more constricting place.
When I read Alice Munro, I see my family with greater clarity. For my mother and mother-in-law both came from that time, that place. And through her stories I see the context of their lives. In turn, I can see the context of my own life, too.
In May 2014 I wrote about Farley Mowat shortly after his death; I wrote of how he reminded me of home. I can say the same about Alice Munro. And I believe that is one of the greatest compliments I can give to a writer: your writing reminds me of home, your writing made me think about where I came from. Your writing put home into focus for me.