“There is a limit to the amount of misery and disarray you will put up with, for love, just as there is a limit to the amount of mess you can stand around a house. You can’t know the limit beforehand, but you will know when you’ve reached it. I believe this.”
Alice Munro, “Bardon Bus”
Canada’s first Nobel Prize in Literature Laureate, this Quote of the Day comes from the sixth story, “Bardon Bus,” in Ms. Munro’s fifth book, The Moons of Jupiter (1982). Often referred to as the “Master of the Short Story” and the “Chekov of Our Times,” Alice Munro is without doubt a titan in modern literature.
Personally, what’s always struck me about her prose is how clean, simple and poignant it is. Whereas authors like Michael Ondaatje and Irvine Welsh seem to effortlessly turn the English language on its head – and still succeed as novelists that make each unique in their own way – Alice Munro is like a carpenter, electrician and contractor all rolled into one; she can take what at first glance appears to be basic building blocks, and with practiced grace takes a literary hole in the ground only to transform it into a remarkable house, a home that is at once new and glorious, yet vaguely familiar and comfortable.
Sadly, Alice Munro, like her contemporary Philip Roth, announced her “retirement” from writing four years ago. But, just as with Mr. Roth, the rumour mill abounds with speculation that she will pick up her quill and quire once again and we will all be blessed with more literary genius from a literary genius.