Thoughts on Alice Munro

Last week I wrote about reading an Alice Munro novel. The book is called Lives of Girls and Women.


It is a slow, meandering novel but enjoyable. I read a great piece in the chapter called Heirs of the Living Body that I thought I would share.

To put it in context, the narrator Del is a girl of about 10 or 11 years old by my reckoning. She is talking about one of her aunts and the writing demonstrates Munro’s impressive knack for descriptions. The relative in question is Aunt Moira, a large, middle-aged woman with varicose veins…

“…it seemed to me that the gloom spreading out from Aunt Moira had a gynecological odor, like that of the fuzzy, rubberized bandages on her legs. She was a woman I would recognize now as a likely sufferer from varicose veins, hemorrhoids, a dropped womb, cysted ovaries, inflammations, discharges, lumps and stones in various places, one of those heavy, cautiously moving wrecked survivors of the female life, with stories to tell.”

Great writing and it’s good to see a novelist who is not afraid to tackle taboo subjects such as women’s unspoken ailments.