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Toiling in Munro country

Alice Munro’s fiction charts a course to addressing trauma with grace, writes

PERSONAL ESSAY

PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREW BUZZELL

I read Alice Munro for the first time when I was living in a semi-abandoned cottage near an open-cast coal mine in Wales. We had no TV and no central heating and the nearest village was a two-mile walk down a railway track. I read her as a cure for homesickness at first: losing myself in her work was a way of returning to an adolescence spent in southern Ontario. I worked my way through every book of hers in the village’s small library. At the time I felt like I had little in common with the genteel characters she largely wrote about, or the atmosphere of repressed longing that informed so many of her stories.

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