Selten hat die Verleihung eines Literaturnobelpreises so viel Freude unter den Kolleginnen und Kollegen ausgelöst wie in diesem Jahr, in dem der Preis an Alice Munro geht. Auch die Übersetzer_innen der Munroschen Erzählungen werden zu Recht gewürdigt. Ich lese sie trotzdem lieber im Original. So, wie ich sie auch für mich entdeckt habe, im New Yorker, mit diesen Erzählungen, die eher mit Tschechow zu tun haben, als mit der nordamerikanischen Form der Short Story, wie sie etwa Hemingway geschrieben hat. Munro hat die Architektur einer Erzählung, die Art und Weise, wie die Zeit im Erzählen vergeht und als Raum durchschritten wird, geradezu revolutioniert, aber auf eine Weise, die der Leserin erst im Nachhinein bewusst wird, wenn sie erkennt, dass die Zeiten, von denen und in der sie sich erzählen ließ, vergangen sind, auf je verschiedene Weise, und zugleich nie vergehen können. Munro hat in einem festumrissenen Territorium und in scheinbar eindeutigen historischen Bezügen Geschichten von zeitloser Gültigkeit geschaffen, weil sie die Wahrheit über das, was zwischen den Menschen geschieht, die sich lieben und schlagen, hassen und behüten, erzählt hat. Neben Jane Austen und Virginia Woolf ist sie die für mich bedeutendste Autorin.
Was englischsprachige Autorinnen und Autoren über Alice Munro sagen (eine kleine Sammlung von Stimmen aus der New York Times, dem New Yorker und der Washington Post):
"The selection of the brilliant Alice Munro is a thrilling one, a triumph for short-story writers everywhere who have held her work in awe from its beginning. It is also a triumph for her translators, who have done excellent work in conveying her greatness to those not reading in the English she wrote down. This may have to do with her enduring themes and sturdy if radical narrative architecture, but these seem to have been served well by careful translation. If short stories are about life and novels are about the world, one can see Munro’s capacious stories as being a little about both: Fate and time and love are the things she is most interested in, as well as their unexpected outcomes. She reminds us that love and marriage never become unimportant as stories — that they remain the very shapers of life, rightly or wrongly. She does not overtly judge — especially human cruelty — but allows human encounters to speak for themselves. She honors mysteriousness and is a neutral beholder before the unpredictable. Part of her genius is in the strange detail that resurfaces, but it is also in the largeness of vision being brought to bear (and press on) a smaller genre or form that has few such wide-seeing practitioners. She is a short-story writer who is looking over and past every ostensible boundary, and has thus reshaped an idea of narrative brevity and re-imagined what a story can do." Lorrie Moore
"People talk about Munro being a “master of the short-story form.’’ But she didn’t master the form so much as re-create it. Her traditional-seeming stories are anything but. She’ll shift multiple points of view or time schemes — hair-raisingly complicated stuff — not to show off formally but to find a means of packing her stories with maximum density. She’s the most savage writer I’ve ever read, also the most tender, the most honest, the most perceptive. This is one of those years where no one can complain about the Nobel Committee’s choice. I’m so incredibly happy that she won."Jeffrey Eugenides
“Alice Munro taught me things about writing that are immeasurable; she has dared in a quiet, steady way, to go places of deep honesty. I will always remember the first time I read her story “Royal Beatings.” I thought: Look what she did — she has told the truth completely. And reading her story “White Dump” for the first time — I remember that too. I thought — look what she does, she goes wherever she wants, and I go with her. The authority she brings to the page is just lovely.”
“I imagine fiction writers everywhere today are celebrating the Nobel committee having gotten it exactly right. There’s probably no one alive who’s better at the craft of the short story, or who has done more to revolutionize the use of time in that form, the result often being a twenty page story that demonstrates the breadth and scope of a novel.”Jim Shepard
"Through Munro’s fiction, Sowesto’s Huron County has joined Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha County as a slice of land made legendary by the excellence of the writer who has celebrated it, though in both cases “celebrated” is not quite the right word. “Anatomised” might be closer to what goes on in the work of Munro, though even that term is too clinical. What should we call the combination of obsessive scrutiny, archaeological unearthing, precise and detailed recollection, the wallowing in the seamier and meaner and more vengeful undersides of human nature, the telling of erotic secrets, the nostalgia for vanished miseries, and rejoicing in the fullness and variety of life, stirred all together?"
"Alice Munro can move characters through time in a way that no other writer can. You are not aware that time is passing, only that it has passed—in this, the reader resembles the characters, who also find that time has passed and that their lives have been changed, without their quite understanding how, when, and why. This rare ability partly explains why her short stories have the density and reach of other people’s novels. I have sometimes tried to work out how she does it but never succeeded, and I am happy in this failure, because no one else can—or should be allowed to—write like the great Alice Munro." Julian Barnes
" In this vast country without a vast number of people, there are few (for me, anyway) cultural heroes. Glenn Gould is one of them. Alice Munro is another. I think of them all the time, actually. They represent something similar: consistency, seriousness, an uncompromising attitude, and work that is daunting, single-minded, and perfect." Sheila Heti
" Her work felt revolutionary when I came to it, and it still does. She taught me that a short story can do anything. She turned the form on its head. She inspired me to probe deeper, to knock down walls. Her work proves that the mystery of human relationships, of human psychology, remains the essence, the driving force of literature. I am rejoicing at this news. I am thrilled for her; my respect for her is boundless. And I am thrilled for the readers of the world, who will now discover her thanks to this tremendous recognition, and continue to discover her and treasure her into the future." Jhumpa Lahiri
" Like Chekhov, Alice Munro never sets out to make a political point. She isn’t sexist, she has no axe to grind. She’s simply bearing witness to the human experience, reporting from the front lines. Yet she is making a political point, one that’s radical because it’s so enormous and so unsettling. The point is that girls and women, even those who lead narrow and constricted lives, those who wield no influence, who have a limited experience in the world, are just as significant and important as boys and men, those who take drugs, ride across the border, drift down the river, or hunt whales. Women’s lives, too, are driven by the great forces that drive all important experience. As it turns out, all those forces are internal: rage, love, jealousy, spite, grief. These are the things that make our lives so wild and dramatic, whether the backdrops are harpoons or swing sets. The great experiences can be set anywhere: a dentist’s office, a neighbor’s living room, a country road at night. It’s those propulsive, breathtaking, suffocating forces inside us that make those moments so vivid and shocking, it’s what’s inside us that cracks the landscape open, shocking and illuminating like a streak of lightning. She showed us that, Alice Munro. What we all lead are ordinary lives with extraordinary passages. It’s Munro who reminds us of this, and that the extraordinary is experienced by women as often as by men, and it needn’t take place on a whaling ship. Piano teachers, divorced professors, country doctors, solitary widows in the country—all those small and insignificant people lead lives of enormous drama. Women lead lives of enormous drama. She has made that into fact." Roxana Robinson
LESEN SIE ALICE MUNRO!
Alice Munro bei Fischer
Alice Munro bei Dörlemann
Zum Einstieg auf Englisch: Alice Munro´s Best. Douglas Gibbons
(Ohnehin werden in diesem Jahr mit den ganz großen Preisen auch die ganz großen Autorinnen geehrt: Alice Munro mit dem Literatur-Nobelpreis, Swetlana Alexejewitsch mit dem Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels und - wie ich gerade eben gelesen habe - Eleanor Catton mit dem Booker Preis. Einzig der Büchner-Preis ging an eine Autorin, die ich nicht - mehr - lese, obwohl ich ihre Bücher mal sehr gern gelesen habe, woran mir aber die Freude durch ihre dummen Äußerungen zum Urheberrech und zum Internet verleidet wurde. Manchmal ist es gut, keine Zeitgenossin zu sein, dann kriegt man nicht mit, welche Albernheiten auch manche großen Autorinnen gelegentlich von sich geben.)