Although I have been reading The New Yorker magazine for over two years now, I had read only one story by Alice Munro- Amundsen - which came out in August 2012. It was not my favorite fiction story published in The New Yorker during that year. I remember reading it but also remember not really getting it--it seemed to me a strange story without closure.
Anyway, I've been reading this past week one story after another of Alice Munro's stories to familiarize myself with her works, starting out with a collection of stories in The View from Castle Rock. I've gotten through Part I and enjoyed reading the story that shares its title with the book and also The Wilds of Morris Township, a story about a young man who decides to build a house of his own on family land right nextdoor to his childhood home and upsets the family dynamics. I've also read Walker Brothers Cowboy in the Norton Anthology of English Literature and thought it was a masterpiece worthy of being included in this prestigious anthology. Although I have not finished reading all the stories I've found online http://www.openculture.com/2013/10/read-14-short-stories-from-nobel-priz... , I've read quite a few, some 18 stories including A Red Dress, Gravel, Deep-Holes, Dimension, Runaway, Wenlock Edge, The Beggar Maid, Passion, The Bear Came Over the Mountain, Dear Life, Voices, Boys and Girls, Train, Free Radicals and Face.
I've also read a few articles http://mubi.com/lists/alice-munro-films-nobel-prize-in-literature-2013 including the following one in which various authors talk about their favorite Alice Munro story. http://www.thestar.com/entertainment/books/2013/10/12/alice_munro_author... Naturally, I have been thinking about which story I would pick as my favorite. I've read a few interviews of Alice Munro, also, and this one http://www.vqronline.org/articles/2013/spring/munro-interview/ was particularly appealing to me in that Alice Munro comments on many of her stories, offering valuable insights.
I know I have not exactly finished reading all the stories I've collected but, so far, one story stands out as a treasure. It is written in the voice of a man who looks back to his childhood and explains what it was like for him to grow up on a family-owned estate, homeschooled by his mother until nine years old or so. The story starts out with a very short paragraph of two crushing sentences: I am convinced that my father looked at me, really saw me, only once. After that, he knew what was there.
It is clear from these two lines that, as soon as he is born, the narrator is rejected by his father. Maybe it is this Dickensian tone that grabbed me, but I found myself intrigued to find out what was to unfold and profoundly affected emotionally by what I discovered there.
Alice Munro tells many stories that are emotionally disturbing involving the dark side of life. The story I loved is not terribly disturbing in the sense that it revolves around childhood experiences, told by a cogent adult reminiscing about his own childhood. The voice of the narrator is calm and in no sense alarming, but the revelation was devastating for me in a way that was totally unexpected, such that I don't anticipate reading another Alice Munro story that can surpass the force of this one. The story in question is Face. http://www.openculture.com/2013/10/read-14-short-stories-from-nobel-priz...