Lives of Girls and Women Paperback – 25 May 1989
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?Munro has an unerring talent for uncovering the extraordinary in the ordinary. "Newsweek"
"Marvelous.... A ribald, humorous appreciation of girlhood [that] manages to treat sex in a new way.... A real joy!"-"Ms."
Praise from fellow writers:
"Her work felt revolutionary when I came to it, and it still does." --Jhumpa Lahiri
"She is one of the handful of writers, some living, most dead, whom I have in mind when I say that fiction is my religion." --Jonthan Franzen
"The authority she brings to the page is just lovely." --Elizabeth Strout
"She's the most savage writer I've ever read, also the most tender, the most honest, the most perceptive." --Jeffery Eugenides
"Alice Munro can move characters through time in a way that no other writer can."--Julian Barnes
"She is a short-story writer who...reimagined what a story can do." --Loorie Moore
"There's probably no one alive who's better at the craft of the short story." --Jim Shepard
"A true master of the form." --Salman Rushdie
"A wonderful writer." --Joyce Carol Oates --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Inside Flap
The only novel from Alice Munro-award-winning author of The Love of a Good Woman--is an insightful, honest book, "autobiographical in form but not in fact," that chronicles a young girl's growing up in rural Ontario in the 1940's.
Del Jordan lives out at the end of the Flats Road on her father's fox farm, where her most frequent companions are an eccentric bachelor family friend and her rough younger brother. When she begins spending more time in town, she is surrounded by women-her mother, an agnostic, opinionted woman who sells encyclopedias to local farmers; her mother's boarder, the lusty Fern Dogherty; and her best friend, Naomi, with whom she shares the frustrations and unbridled glee of adolescence.
Through these unwitting mentors and in her own encounters with sex, birth, and death, Del explores the dark and bright sides of womanhood. All along she remains a wise, witty observer and recorder of truths in small-town life. The result is a powerful, moving, and humorous demonstration of Alice Munro's unparalleled awareness of the lives of girls and women. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Top Customer Reviews
It reads like an auto-biography but is in fact a novel, which chronicles the girlhood and journey to womanhood of Del. Del is an extra-ordinary girl in an ordinary town - the town's name, Jubilee, is beautifully ironic as nothing the least bit celebratory or festive ever happens there. Two things make her extra-ordinary. Her non-conforming, encyclopaedia-selling mother is the first. She brings Del up in spite of her dull, compliant father, to question everything, especially the sacred cows of Jubilee society, and to expect great things of herself. The second thing is Del herself, her gimlet eye and penetrating understanding, her capacity for reflection, her innate intelligence.
Warring against these forces are the usual, but so truthfully rendered, forces of adolescence; peer pressure, childish curiosity, teenage rebellion. Any woman and I suspect most men will have spent time, as Del does, both yearning for God and not believing in him, hating and loving their parents at one and the same time, eaten up with stammering self-consciousness when the boy we have been fantasising about in explicit, breathless Technicolor just so much as looks our way. The consuming fear and obsessive fascination of sex. This is a coming of age novel as good, and probably better, than any I have read.
Jubilee is peopled by a cast of wonderful characters, some of them only sketchily drawn and yet still amazingly corporeal; Del's two eccentric Aunts, Mr Chamberlain, the paedophile Radio announcer, Miss Farris the doomed school teacher.Read more ›
Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Munro is a master of characterization and narrative structure. Del's description of her mother, for example, reveals: (1) Del's feeling of discomfort at her own place within Jubilee's hierarchy and environment; Del wants to fit in, and her mother embodies the eccentric within her own self. (2) Del's mother's strengths, pulling herself from abject poverty, putting herself through school, starting her own business in conservative postwar rural Canada - this woman evokes our admiration, despite the disgust of our narrator. It's these multidimensional portraits that makes Munro so great - yes, a character (Del's mother) can earn our admiration, disgust, and pity all at once...
Then in the building of conflict, Munro ALWAYS surprises us. Every scene is fresh, new, interesting, every culmination of conflict resolves in ways we would never expect. Take the time when Del was being molested by her mother's boarder's boyfriend. One day she goes off with him in his car out to the country, and we're expecting some "Bastard Out of Carolina" child-raping exploitation and subsequent weepy victim hood. But Munro makes a left at the light, has the man simply masturbate in front of the child, who for her part is excited, charmed, and repelled by the sight and is grateful to be introduced to the mystery of the penis.
And lastly, Munro refuses to depict her women in the same, old tired way. Her women are not dragged around by the hand by handsome strangers, as they so often are in movies. Her women are not victims of rape, incest, or peer pressure, as in way too many contemporary novels. No, Munro's women are real. They have drive, ambition, and a deep desire to be seen as people.
Definitely one of my favorite books, ever.
There is a very strong scene in the end of the novel, which actually the whole of the novel centers around. This scene takes place in the Wawanash river when Del Jordan is bathing with her truck driver boyfriend Garnet French. In my opinion Alice Munro in that scene carves out an eternal and everlasting moment in the history of litterature. To me the scene is perhaps not so much about religion specifically, but more about human society in general.
As with some great artists, there is something superior and untouchable about Alice Munro. For a rather plain person like me, this strange stuff, is a source of recurrent intellectual itchiness, because I will properly never be able to touch it, define it and put it in a box.
Is the books Ontario town, Jubilee, perhaps inspired by her experiences in the Ontario town, Wingham?