Ruth Franklin

Alice Munro is the winner of this year's Nobel Prize for literature. Here are a couple of excerpts from The New Republic's writings about Munro:Chloe Schama on Dear Life, 2012:

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Be Proud of Your Stephen King Fandom

November 6, 2000

Be Proud of Your Stephen King Fandom. 

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There is no other voice in contemporary fiction like the narrator of Mating, Norman Rush’s first novel. An American graduate student doing anthropological work in Botswana, she speaks in a fragrant mix of high and low: polylingual slang and bons mots, academic jargon, allusions to Freud and Shakespeare, an unsqueamish earthiness.

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The Casual Vacancy is a loose, baggy novel, but once a central narrative starts to emerge, the result is penetrating and pleasantly acerbic.

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What's missing from Zadie Smith's new novel, "NW"? The recognition that fiction cannot be written according to a program.

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Across the Land and the Water: Selected Poems, 1964–2001 By W.G. Sebald Translated by Iain Galbraith (Random House, 166 pp., $25)   THE REPUTATION OF an important writer will continue to swell in his or her absence, nourished by the unceasing attentions of friends, scholars, and devoted readers unwilling to forget an artist who changed the way they perceive the world. And so it is with W.G. Sebald.

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The video lasts all of twenty seconds. We see the doorway of a nondescript apartment building, several stories high, and neighbors above peering curiously down. A newlywed couple proceed down the steps: The groom wears a top hat and formal suit, the bride carries a lavish bouquet. The camera pans up, and there she is, leaning out of a second-floor balcony, instantly recognizable. It’s Anne Frank: Her mop of thick dark hair, her angular features. She looks down at the bride and groom—she turns her head to call to someone inside—she looks out again.

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Watching the outpouring of grief and reflection over the death of Adrienne Rich last week, I admit, to my shame, that I was surprised. Surprised not because of any judgment about Rich’s poetry, which I barely know, but because I had thought of her as an icon of another era. That era, of course, was the era of the women’s movement, of which Rich was a brash troubadour, asserting the value and distinctiveness of women’s experience and lamenting their—our—submission to patriarchy. But when I came of age intellectually, in the 1990s, this mode of expression had fallen out of fashion.

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Like wolves and teenagers, literary scandals travel in packs, and the first of the spring are already upon us. First came The Lifespan of a Fact, a new book by essayist John D’Agata and his fact-checker Jim Fingal, which presents the blood-and-tears saga of Fingal’s seven-year-long attempt to verify a piece by D’Agata about the suicide of a Las Vegas teenager.

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“I have no doubt of seeing the animal today,” Mary Wollstonecraft wrote hastily to her husband, William Godwin, on August 30, 1797, as she waited for the midwife who would help her deliver the couple’s first child. The “animal” was Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who would grow up to be Mary Shelley, wife of the Romantic poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and author of Frankenstein, one of the most enduring and influential novels of the nineteenth century.

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