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Alice Munro

  • I read a book called The Art of Loving. A lot of things seemed clear while I was reading it but afterwards I went back to being more or less the same.

  • Country manners. Even if somebody phones up to tell you your house is burning down, they ask first how you are.

    • Alice Munro,
    • title story, The Progress of Love ()
  • One drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything like a drop of black ink in white milk.

    • Alice Munro,
    • title story, The Progress of Love ()
  • It's as if tendencies that seem most deeply rooted in our minds, most private and singular, have come in as spores on the prevailing wind, looking for any likely place to land, any welcome.

  • In dreams you can have the feeling that you've had this dream before, that you have this dream over and over again, and you know that it's really nothing that simple. You know that there's a whole underground system that you call 'dreams,' having nothing better to call them, and that this system is not like roads or tunnels but more like a live body network, all coiling and stretching, unpredictable but finally familiar — where you are now, where you've always been.

  • One thing she has noticed about married women, and that is how many of them have to go about creating their husbands. They have to start ascribing preferences, opinions, dictatorial ways. Oh, yes, they say, my husband is very particular. He won't touch turnips. He won't eat fried meat. (Or he will only eat fried meat.) He likes me to wear blue (brown) all the time. He can't stand organ music. He hates to see a woman go out bareheaded. He would kill me if I took one puff of tobacco. This way, bewildered, sidelong-looking men are made over, made into husbands, heads of households.

  • In twenty years I've never had a day when I didn't have to think about someone else's needs. And this means the writing has to be fitted around it.

    • Alice Munro,
    • in Catherine Sheldrick Ross, Alice Munro: A Double Life ()
  • You cannot let your parents anywhere near your real humiliations.

  • ... when a man goes out of the room, he leaves everything in it behind. When a woman goes out she carries everything that happened in the room along with her.

  • Lovers. Not a soft word, as people thought, but cruel and tearing.

    • Alice Munro,
    • "Postcard," New Selected Stories ()
  • ... people who believe in miracles do not make much fuss when they actually encounter one.

    • Alice Munro,
    • "Dance of the Happy Shades," New Selected Stories ()
  • Who can ever say the perfect thing to the poet about his poetry?

  • The constant happiness is curiosity.

    • Alice Munro
  • I don't always, or even usually, read stories from beginning to end. I start anywhere and proceed in either direction. A story is not like a road to follow, it's more like a house. You go inside and stay there for a while.

    • Alice Munro,
    • introduction, Selected Stories, 1969-1994 ()
  • I would ... go up to the mailbox and sit in the grass, waiting. ... Till it came to me one day there were women doing this with their lives, all over. There were women just waiting and waiting by mailboxes for one letter or another. I imagined me making this journey day after day and year after year, and my hair starting to go gray, and I thought, I was never made to go on like that. ... If there were woman all through life waiting, and women busy and not waiting, I knew which I had to be.

Alice Munro, Canadian writer, Nobel winner

(1931)

Full name: Alice Laidlaw Munro.