I’ve always been a city girl and never thought much of the country. It’s not that I thought about it with disdain, it’s that I never thought of it at all. After reading The View from Castle Rock by Alice Munro I have a new appreciation for the landscape that I had so resolutely ignored.
In this collection of short stories Munro traces her lineage from her ancestors first voyage to America and ending with her own story. When I first began this collection I wasn’t sure that I was going to enjoy it. At times, Munro described events, places and people with a technicality that walked the line of boredom. At the end however, I saw these moments differently. When she described in achingly beautiful detail what it was like watching her father on the coldest winter night of her childhood, milking their soon to be dead cow she wasn’t doing it for us the reader she did it for herself. Her childhood wasn’t just a stage in her life, it made her the woman she is today and those moments, those small, insignificant events defined her to her very core.
I think most people who read Munro’s novels feel the same way, that in the age and time she grew up, the simplicity, it is gold that we have now lost. We have TV’s, computers, and IPod’s but back then it was just you and nature. That was all. There is a strong sense of that in her stories, winding country roads, elms, oaks, orchards decorating a landscape that no longer exists for us. I felt at home reading through the snippets of her life but most of all I felt like I knew her, that we were somehow now friends because she had shared these personal moments of her life with me.
If I could write like any person in the world it would be Alice Munro. She remembers everything about her childhood and brings it to life in a way that makes you yearn for your own childhood home, memories, the scent of that one summer day. She is magic on paper, a crisp wind of words on a summer day. She is everything and anything you can hope for when wanting to feel swaddled in the warm life of another. She is the epitome of a good author with a trail of good books behind her.