Filed under: , Alice Munro
It’s not often you read an Alice Munro slam, so Quillblog took notice of this one in the Calgary Herald. Staffer Naomi Lakritz, who is apparently a political columnist at the paper, attacks Munro’s new Selected Stories:
Alice Munro’s world is unremittingly grey. It may be one of the seven deadly sins of CanLit to utter a critical word about Munro, but the sin of a scanty plot is an even bigger one. This collection can’t rightfully be called stories. They’re unsatisfying sketches of characters who wander through depressive environments, observing the idiosyncrasies of those around them. Yet, those idiosyncrasies are there simply for the sake of being there; they do not lead to climaxes or denouements.
Now, although we’re certainly Munro fans here at Quillblog, we’re also in favour of critical reviewing and disinclined to kneel before sacred cows. So when we say this review’s an embarrassment, we’re not saying, “Lakritz doesn’t like Munro, therefore she de facto doesn’t know what she’s talking about.”
However, it does seem painfully apparent that Lakritz simply hasn’t read much literary fiction before. Which is the real issue here: surely some sensitivity and expertise should be a prerequisite for a book reviewer?