Her stories are like Leonard Cohen’s songs, beautiful prose about depressing topics. Dirge music. Dirge stories. I can’t do a marathon read of Alice Munro. Her stories are about the poor and downtrodden, those without much hope or beauty in their lives. The settings are often depressing and hardscrable: shacks, scruby old farms and dingy homes in poor towns. Their struggles are depressing and the outcomes rarely uplifting. The topics are raw and gritty, impossible to put down, but difficult to start again. Her brilliance with the written word has me turning the pages again.
So, like my Leonard Cohen albums (which I can only listen to for a while), her stories are ones to be read and savored, but not for too long.
“Surely everyone is aware of the divine pleasures which attend a wintry fireside; candles at four o'clock, warm hearthrugs, tea, a fair tea-maker, shutters closed, curtains flowing in ample draperies to the floor, whilst the wind and rain are raging audibly without.”
~Thomas de Quincey