This blog will touch on the experiences I have as a writer (not to be mistaken for my experience as a writer, i.e. how many books I've written, etc); the pleasure and the pain, the joy and the grief, the satisfaction and the frustration, the magic and the reality - have I left anything out, oh yeah, the rejection, rejection and more rejection, the humiliation and the embarrassment, the jealousy and the resentment - that pretty much covers it, except for why I do it which perhaps I'll realize along the way. Are you totally confused? Good, let's begin.
Is Alice Munro, winner of three Governor General Awards, the Giller Prize, and numerous other Canadian and international literary awards including the Nobel Prize in Literature, beyond criticism?
I just finished Runaway, a collection of eight of her short stories. Actually, there are only five since a long one is broken into three segments. Why was this done? I have no idea.
The stories presented in this anthology are, without doubt, very compelling and the writing was flawless as you would imagine. The characterization is subtle, but incredibly telling – you almost immediately know someone like the character, and more than often, hate them.
However, I have trouble with the way Munro ends the majority of these stories.
Endings to short stories usually fall into one these four categories: denouement, realization, epiphany, or the story ends itself.
In my mind the most satisfactory ending is when the story comes to its natural conclusion and the ending, though not necessarily anticipated, seems inevitable. Only two of the collection presented in Runaway end this way.
The others all seem too coincidental, too serendipitous, or just vague.
Two stories are ended by chance meetings many years after the main events of the plot have taken place and the characters, more or less, explain to the reader what actually happened.
I would have expected more from the literary icon.
In another, an insignificant and totally accidental event is the catalyst for a dramatic turn of events I just couldn’t imagine the characters undertaking. Yes, I went back and searched for the clues. Maybe a more astute reader would have found them, but I didn’t.
I understand literary short story endings can be more complex, that it’s not necessarily about tying up loose ends, but more about story’s the emotional and psychological impact, but given all that, another ending makes no sense whatsoever, emotionally or psychologically.
Should I be worried that my citizenship is about to be revoked, or worse, that some unseen force is about to smote me?