In the final story in this collection the
narrator refers to her quest to uncover the history of her
relatives saying, "It happens mostly in our old age, when our
personal futures close down and we cannot imagine - sometimes
cannot believe in - the future of our children's children. We
can't resist this rifling around in the past, sifting the
untrustworthy evidence, linking stray names and questionable
dates and anecdotes together, hanging on to threads, insisting
on being joined to dead people and therefore to life."
This sentiment neatly sums up this collection of linked stories
based loosely on Munro's life and those of her ancestors.
However, she firmly emphasizes that this is fiction with its
roots in fact, not a memoir: "The part of this book that might
be called family history has expanded...
Beyond the Book
was born in 1931 in
Wingham, a small town in southwestern
Ontario, to a family of small farmers.
She began writing stories at the age of
12. She won a two-year scholarship to
the University of Western Ontario and
while there published several short
stories in the student literary
magazine. She left before graduating,
some sources say this was because she
ran out of money, others say it was to
get married. She married another
student, James Munro, and they raised
three daughters and for several years
ran a bookshop in Victoria. Later they
divorced and she married Gerald Fremlin,...