Lives of Girls and Women

Lives of Girls and WomenLa Vida De La Gente, En Jubilee Como En Todas Partes, Era Aburrida, Simple, Asombrosa E Insondable Cuevas Profundas Cubiertas De Lin Leo De CocinaBastan Estas Pocas Palabras Para Reconocer El Talento De Una Espl Ndida Narradora Y Colarse En La Vida De Del Jordan, Una Chiquilla Que Vive Con Sus Padres En El Pueblo De JubileeDel Empieza Contando Su D A A D A, Su Relaci N Con La Familia, Los Vecinos Y Los Amigos, Y Pronto Descubrimos Que Esa Ni A Sabe Observar El Mundo Y Sacar Buen Provecho De Lo Que Ve Compadece La Poquedad Del Padre, Admira El Arrojo De La Madre, Que Deja La Granja Para Dedicarse A Vender Enciclopedias Por Los Alrededores, Y Comprende Que Tarde O Temprano Llega El Momento En Que Hay Que Elegir Entre Una Risue A Mediocridad Hogar, Iglesia, Matrimonio, Hijos Y Otras Opciones M S Interesantes Y Arriesgadas Ese Descubrimiento Es Tambi N El De La Vocaci N Literaria, Una Suerte De Llamada, De Deber Para Con El MundoEsta Deliciosa Novela, Que La Autora Escribi Cuando Ten A Cuarenta A Os, Es Autobiogr Fica En La Forma, Que No En Los Contenidos , Como Comenta Ir Nicamente La Misma Alice MunroTraducida Por Primera Vez Al Castellano, La Vida De Las Mujeres Muestra Ya Toda La Maestr A Y El Modo Peculiar De Ver La Realidad Que Ha Distinguido La Obra Posterior De Esta Gran Figura De Las Letras Contempor Neas I was a little surprised by the claim on the blurb of this book that this is Munro s only novel, if only because to me its structure is very similar to that of the only other Munro book I have read, The Beggar Maid In both cases a story is told in episodes each of which could work as a short story or novella, but the whole adds up to somethinglike a novel.Once again Munro writes beautifully and perceptively about fairly humdrum subjects, this time the childhood and rites of passage of a girl, Del, growing up in a small town in rural Ontario A pleasure to read. This is my favourite sort of novel writing that is acute, astute, and beautiful, sugaring deeper questions and messages that take time to ferment and mature All weekend thought of him stayed in my mind like a circus net spread underneath whatever I had to think about I was constantly letting go and tumbling into it. I felt similarly about Del Jordan, though for completely different reasons.This is my first encounter with Munro, and it s her only novel It is not far removed from short stories, with Del describing her childhood and adolescence in seven episodic, loosely themed death, God, friendships, sex, ambition etc , but chronological chapters, plus a short epilogue in different style The prose is carefully crafted to seem simple, as are the brilliantly relatable insights and anxieties of an adolescent girl s life It s raw and realistic It s subtly philosophical without ever being pretentious And it exposes the hopes and fears of different and changing gender expectations, without ever being academic or preachy.UniversalWhere she was going I did not want to go But things were progressing for her She had moved as far beyond me in the real world, as I in all sorts or remote and useless and special knowledge had moved beyond her Most of us don t question our gender, but I expect everyone has pondered aspects of the societal expectations that are based on it, especially in our teen years whether girls can show cleverness, how to handle relationships with friends and potential partners as bodies change and hormones rage, what ambition girls can have beyond marriage, the meaning of death and life You know the little things It s not an original concept for a novel, but Munro executes it exquisitely Del lives in the small Ontario town of Jubilee, during and after WW2 Her father raises silver foxes for fur Her mother is eccentric but with odd little pockets of conventionality , opinionated, and aspirational an atheist who sells encyclopaedias Her younger brother, Owen, is mostly in the margins, as little brothers often are It s a time of great change, especially for girls and women, and the most influential characters in her life are predominantly female mother, aunts, friends, friends mothers, and teachers She reminded me strongly of a cross between a Carson McCullers character and myself despite differences of geography, decades, and reality In particular, her tussles with God and religion wanting to believe and to feel, to belong, yet not quite expecting it, maybe not wholeheartedly wanting it, were hallmarks of my adolescence too It s a small town, but it encompasses a range circumstances and beliefs, both between individuals, and within individuals over time degrees of conformity, educated and not, rural and suburban, comfortable and poor, religious different denominations and not, single chaste and married Nature, nurture, or both Can we escape our past and our presumed destiny Is Del made by Jubilee and the women in it, or does she make herself Tenses It was not the individual names that were important, but the whole solid, intricate structure of lives supporting us from the past. Uncle Craig is devoted to genealogy the past Mother is devoted to knowledge the past in service of the future Others are devoted to God present and future eternal , and to romance, marriage, and sex mostly in the present, but not necessarily in that order Teenagers try to wrestle free of the past, of their parents, as they try to forge their futures, and Del tries out different personae and priorities I felt the gentle pain of small town adolescence, where there is no anonymity, no privacy The ambivalent, confused feelings of a child adult, present and future, about her changing body, the bodies of others, and the implications and opportunities arising, is brilliantly, realistically, comically, and painfully portrayed Christmas baubles on a summer sponge cakeMunro has a knack for dropping an unexpected word in an otherwise ordinary phrase the most outstanding aspect of this novel for me Most are not quite oxymorons, but they startle, and make me refocus my mind to see things in a new way We are all a strange and sometimes uncomfortable mix of characters and emotions, regardless of the masks we wear A delicate predatory face Horrific playfulness of hyperbolic crimes Prosaic as a hiccup parents downstairs when children in bed Heartless applause Fierce but somehow helpless expressions Authoritative typing Nimble malice that danced under their courtesies Putting her rouge on at the dark mirror Relatives looking benevolent, but voluntarily apart My mother s voice unwillingly deferential Their artificiality bloomed naturally women in the presence of a man I felt my anonymity like a decoration Nosing along, almost silently, like an impudent fish a big American car Pure hearted indifference brother Owen s attitude to God His grinning pessimism, his mournful satisfied predictions A foreboding, yet oddly permissive, tone of voice about sex Windy yellow evening Spring The landscape was postcoital, distant and meaningless A worried jovial face His face contained fierceness and sweetness His dark, amiable but secretive face The final chapter is another unexpected contrast It s almost from another book, another writer It s shorter than the others, and Del reflects on the motives and meaning of fictionalising real life, with a slight magical realist aspect, infused with the wisdom of one who was presumed a fool.Other Quotes The deep, deep, layered clutter and dirt of the place swallowed light The Irish gift for rampaging mockery, embroidered with deference Knowledge A chilly commodity that most people, grown up, can agree to do without Soldiers uniforms had an aura of anonymous brutality like the smell of burning A dome of light, a bubble radiant and indisputable He would flower suddenly as a bank of day lilies How Del hopes God might reveal himself Rituals which in other circumstances might have seemed wholly artificial, had here church a kind of last ditch dignity I was happy in the library Walls of printed pages, evidence of so many created worlds We knew too much about each other to ever stop being friends It s the girl who is responsible because our sex organs are on the inside and theirs are on the outside and we can control our urges better a friend quoting her mother, who is a nurse Del s first sight of a penis It looked blunt and stupid, compared, say, to fingers and toes It did not seem frightening Raw and blunt, ugly colored as a wound, it looked to me vulnerable, playful and naive It did not seem to have anything to do with me She sent those school operettas up like bubbles, shaped with quivering, exhausting effort, then almost casually set free, to fade and fade but hold trapped forever our transformed childish selves Meeting the parents Each of us was suspected of carrying the seeds of contamination atheism and sexual preoccupation It was that stage of transition, bridge between what was possible, known and normal behaviour, and the magical, bestial act, that I could not imagine No foul shimmer of corruption the skin of everyday appearances stretched over such shamelessness a prostitute is disappointingly ordinary I knew I was altered by his presence Love is not for the undepilated I would try to recreate the exact texture of his skin, touching my own, try to remember accurately the varying texture of his fingers Sex seemed to me all surrender not the woman s to the man but the person s to the body, a act of pure faith, freedom in humility We were close enough to childhood to believe in the absolute seriousness and finality of some fights PostscriptAfter reading the book and writing this review, I pondered McCullers someI had assumed there might not bet enough of an age gap for much influence, but then I found this undated interview here, including this question and answer What writers have most influenced you and who do you like to readWhen I was young it was Eudora Welty, Carson McCullers, Katherine Anne Porter, Flannery O Connor, James Agee Then Updike, Cheever, Joyce Carol Oates, Peter Taylor, and especially and forever, William Maxwell Also William Trevor, Edna O Brien, Richard Ford These I would say are influences There are dozens of others I just like to read My latest discovery is a Dutch writer, Cees Nooteboom Straddling two genres, Lives of Girls and Women features eight seemingly disjointed snapshots of daily life in Jubilee, a rural town in Ontario, seen through the eyes of Del Jordan, a feisty girl on the threshold of adolescence, that build on the common theme of women swimming against the backdraught of societal indoctrination towards rightful emancipation Munro s prose is spare but not scanty She skips major episodes in Del s life in favor of extended descriptions of the details that really count, details that flood the unadorned first person narration with fierce authenticity Del s psyche is exposed, devoid of the glorified tint of nostalgia It is also painstakingly shaped by the external occurrences in a community ruled by the tight grip of a suffocating religious dogma that shears the futures of those who dare to challenge its traditional heritage Employing the intricate map of Christian sects Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, Catholic and Union Church that coexist in town as a menacing background combined with a good share of disabled characters and some doses of mordant humor highly reminiscent of Flannery O Connor s style , Munro delineates Del s personal growth on the choices she makes along the road to adulthood Ignoring her unconventional mother, an agnostic amidst an ocean of fervent believers, Del experiments with faith as she does with sexuality or with premature first love, with rigorous self determination, always remaining the mistress of her actions She needs to discover her wishes, construct her ambitions on her own terms and so she dismisses preconceived ideas, even from her best friend Naomi who aspires to secure a good marriage or from her modern mother who covets a college education for her Her mistakes, disappointments and frustrations teach her the most constructive lessons and set the founding pillars of her path to mental and physical independence.These thematic lines have been addressed, exploited and scrutinized before, but, in my opinion, what distinguishes Munro from other writers is her ability to construct a multi dimensional world domestic, personal and equally subversive that moves dexterously from introspective narration, minimalistic dialogue and objective narration to sketch flesh and bone characters whose inner struggles make the reading painful at times for the pangs of recognition it provokes in the reader Munro is unapologetic and so are her characters, which become afire with life through her economical yet incisive prose.Also, on this occasion, the reader is not only rewarded by the deft unfolding pathos of a classical bildungsroman, but also by the processes that take place in the making of an artist Del Jordan discovers that her literary vocation will transform her words into powerful weapons that will provide a voice to those silenced by decades of sustained social injustice.My first Munro, but certainly not my last. My introduction to Alice Munro is Lives of Girls and Women and what a sensory feast this is Published in 1971, it could qualify as a short story collection for some, a novel for others the seven titled chapters capable of being read out of order and standing alone as short stories, but all narrated by the same character, teenager Del Jordan as she grows up in the fictional southern Ontario town of Jubilee in the 1940s Under the supervision of her mother Ada, Del determines whether her ideal is a life spent in service of a husband, or dictated by her own choices somewhere else Of the many approaches to this story, Munro s is marvelously detailed, with a warm touch and unmistakable humanity.From The Flats Road The Flats Road was not part of town but it was not part of the country either The curve of the river, and the Grenoch Swamp, cut if off from the rest of the township, to which it nominally belonged There were no real farms There were Uncle Benny s and Potters places, fifteen and twenty acres, Uncle Benny s going back to bush The Potter boys raised sheep We had nine acres and raised foxes Most people had one or two acres and a bit of livestock, usually a cow and chickens and sometimes somethingbizarre that would not be found on an ordinary farm The Potter boys owned a family of goats, which they turned loose to graze along the road Sandy Stevenson, a bachelor, kept a little gray donkey, like the illustration to a Bible story, pasturing in the stony corner of a field My father s enterprise was not out of the way here.In Heirs of the Living Body Heart attackIt sounded like an explosion, like fireworks going off, shooting sticks of light in all directions, shooting a little ball of light that was Uncle Craig s heart, or his soul high into the air, where it tumbled and went out Did he jump up, throw his arms out, yell How long did it take, did his eyes close, did he know what was happening My mother s usual positiveness seemed clouded over my cold appetite for details irritated her I followed her around the house, scowling, persistent, repeating my questions I wanted to know There is no protection, unless it is in knowing I wanted death pinned down and isolated behind a wall of particular facts and circumstances, not floating around loose, ignored but powerful, waiting to get in anywhere.From Princess Ida The war was still on then Farmers were making money at last, making it out of pigs or sugar beets or corn Possibly they did not mean to spend it on encyclopedias They had their minds set on refrigerators, cars But these things were not to be had, and in the meantime there was my mother, gamely lugging her case of books, gaining entry to their kitchens, their cold funeral smelling front rooms, cautiously but optimistically opening fire on behalf of Knowledge A chilly commodity that most people, grown up, can agree to do without But nobody will deny that it is a fine thing for children My mother was banking on that.In Age of FaithChrist died for our sins, said my mother, jumping up In the hall mirror she peered aggressively at her own dim face Well, well, wellRedeemed by the blood That is a lovely notion You might as well take the Aztecs cutting out live hearts because they thought the sun wouldn t rise and set if they didn t Christianity is no better What do you think of a God who asks for blood Blood, blood, blood Listen to their hymns, that s all they re ever about What about a God who isn t satisfied until he has got somebody hanging on a cross for six hours, nine hours, whatever it was If I was God I wouldn t be so bloodthirsty Ordinary people wouldn t be so bloodthirsty I don t count Hitler At one time maybe they would be but not now Do you know what I m saying, do you know what I m leading up to No, I said honestly.From Changes and Ceremonies After this, we talked all the time about these two boys We called them F.A s It stood for Fatal Attraction There goes your F.A Try not to faint Why don t you get your F.A some Noxema for his boils, ugh I think your F.A was looking at you but it s hard to tell with his cross eyes We developed a code system of raised eyebrows, fingers fluttered on the chest, mouthed words such as Pang, oh, Pangfor when we stood near them on stage. Fury, double Furyfor when Dale McLaughlin talked to Alma Cody and snapped his fingers against her neck and Rapturefor when he tickled Naomi under the arm and said, Out of my way, butterball In Lives of Girls and Women My mother spoke to me in her grave, hopeful, lecturing voice There is a change coming I think in the lives of girls and women Yes But it is up to us to make it come All women have had up till now has been their connection with men All we have had Nolives of our own, really, than domestic animals. He shall hold thee, when his passion shall have spent its novel force, a little closer than his dog, a little dearer than his horseTennyson wrote that It s true. Wastrue You will want to have children, though That was how much she knew me But I hope you will use your brains Use your brains Don t be distracted Once you make that mistake, of being distracted, over a man, your life will never be your own You will get the burden, a woman always does There is birth control nowadays, I reminded her, and she looked at me startled, though it was herself who had publicly embarrassed our family, writing to the Jubilee Herald Advancethat prophylactic devices should be distributed to all women on public relief in Wawanash County, to help them prevent any further increase in their families Boys at school had yelled at me, Hey, when is your momma giving out the proplastic devices From Baptizing This was the first summer my mother and I had stayed in Jubilee, instead of going out on the Flats Road My mother said she was not equal to it and anyway they were happy as they were, my father and Owen and Uncle Benny Sometimes I walked out to see them They drank beer at the kitchen table and cleaned eggs with steel wool The fox farming business was finished, because the price of pelts had fallen so low after the war The foxes were gone, the pens were pulled down, my father was switching over to poultry I sat and tried to clean eggs too Owen had half a bottle of beer When I asked for some my father said, No, your mother wouldn t like it Uncle Benny said, No good ever come of any girl that drunk beer That was what I had heard Garnet say, the same words.Two qualities of Lives of Girls and Women that are noticeable are Alice Munro s taste and her potent descriptive talent As a storyteller first and foremost, she rejects screeds and dodges political activism Her stories are calibrated toward Del s self discovery, where bitterness is smartly balanced against sweetness and sourness Along with these sensory explorations, Munro has the abilities of a missionary when it comes to recording a Canadian town in the mid twentieth century She has John Steinbeck s gift of watching human beings gripped in sloth, envy, lust and other sins and bringing them to life with a splash of wit It s glorious work.


[PDF / Epub] ✅ Lives of Girls and Women By Alice Munro –
  • Hardcover
  • 384 pages
  • Lives of Girls and Women
  • Alice Munro
  • Spanish
  • 06 July 2019
  • 9788426419477

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