CBC Digital Archives

Alice Munro: The Stone in the Field

A master of the short story, Alice Munro is one of Canada's most acclaimed literary treasures. With characters and settings that often mirror her own background and memories, her unadorned yet emotionally searing stories have enthralled readers since her first collection was published in 1968. With this selection of eight interviews from 1974 to 2007, CBC Digital Archives uncovers a witty, revealing and generous author.

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"I was brought up to retreat from praise," Alice Munro tells Peter Gzowski in 1982. But with the imminent release of her latest collection, The Moons of Jupiter, praise will be hard to avoid for Munro. Readers and critics alike are eagerly anticipating the book, and she is Gzowski's guest every morning for a week. In this conversation with the CBC Radio host, Munro reads from one of the new book's stories and explains that a story's content doesn't interest her as much as the world she's trying to create.
• Benjamin DeMott, a book reviewer for the New York Times, lauded the "witty, subtle [and] passionate" collection that was The Moons of Jupiter. "In the main her sense of style and craft is impeccable," he wrote, concluding, "Alice Munro at her best is an engrossingly truthful 'taker into account'; rewards await readers unacquainted with her work."

• Munro has always been a short story writer, though in the beginning she assumed she would someday start writing novels. ''I can get a kind of tension when I'm writing a short story, like I'm pulling on a rope and I know where the rope is attached," she said in the New York Times in 1986. "With a novel, everything goes flabby. I like to have things going on at a lot of levels and I don't know how to do a novel in that way.''

• Peter Gzowski was a great fan of Munro's. When her book The Progress of Love came out in 1986, she was again a guest on Morningside for five days straight. Munro returned the admiration, saying after his death in 2002 that Gzowski's interview style was "a lot like learning to swim. He held you up for as long as you needed it, so easily and gracefully and unobtrusively, that it almost seemed as if he was learning to swim, too. Then at some moment, he let you go, let you take your own direction, trusted you to do it right." (Globe and Mail, Jan. 25, 2002) 

Medium: Radio
Program: Morningside
Broadcast Date: Oct. 18, 1982
Guest(s): Alice Munro
Host: Peter Gzowski
Duration: 17:28
The Moons of Jupiter, Alice Munro, Penguin Canada.

Last updated: October 10, 2013

Page consulted on July 2, 2014

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