The second work of one of the most renowned and prominent Canadian writers of the 20th and 21st centuries caused a lot of confusion among literary critics. The main reason of their perplexity was the fact that Alice Munro was a master of the short stories, but this work could be easily viewed as a novel. She didn’t need to write hundreds of pages in order to show significance of a human’s life, everyday struggles, hopes and tragedies of an ordinary person. These several interlinked short coming of age stories were published in 1971 and were successful enough to be reprinted a few times more. However, nothing was added or changed since its first publishing.
This collection of short stories or a novel, everyone chooses what they like best, is often viewed as partially autobiographical, for the author uses her own experience, writing about a life she is well accustomed to. Just like the author, a protagonist of the story grows up in a tiny Canadian town, where she is supposed to learn that even such an uneventful thing as an everyday life could be worth a novel. To read this masterpiece is like to talk to Alice Munro. The author reflects on her own early ideas about a writer’s duties and a life itself.