Alice Munro was an author I had heard of but knew nothing about - other than she was Canadian - until last week when she won the Nobel. Despite knowing nothing about her last year I had grabbed one of her books in the local second hand bookshop because I knew she was on the 1001 BTRBYD list, a list I'm gradually working my way through. The book sat on the highest shelf unread until I saw all over twitter her win. Now I'm really glad that I made that random purchase and that I've started on Munro's backlist.
Lives of Girls and Women was first published in 1971, and whilst the setting has aged the concerns of the central character have not. We start the book with Del as a young girl living on a rural farm with little to do other than hang out with her brother and read sensational stories in a neighbour's newspaper. Each chapter in the novel focuses on a different point in Del's life, the arrival of a new women from out of town who refuses to fit the constrains of a wife and mother, her mother's life as an Encyclopoedia saleswoman, dating, friendship issues and changes in her body etc. Whilst it is the story of a fairly average childhood and maturity towards womanhood Munro's style and narrative lifted the character and setting right off of the page.
There is one more Munro on the 1001 list that I'll be searching out, but I will definitely keep an eye out for more of her books in the future.