Contemporary Fiction and Aesthetic Engagement

We’re starting off this semester in Contemporary Fiction with Alice Munro’s story Miles City, Montana, rather than as we have in the past with Paz’ My Life with the Wave. Why? Because a lot of what we’ll be doing in the course is learning about and relating different sorts of aesthetic expression in the huge arena of “fiction.” What are the modes? The affects? The methods?

Munro is a favorite of mine because of her focus on memory. Fiction and memory: yes. Thus her fictions trail and path-out in different ways than do Paz’ and Borges’. In Miles City, for example, we’ll have a chance to talk about the orientation of the narrator “looking back” on her life. As does Paz’ narrator. But what they see and have experienced in the expressed fiction will be different and will take a different shape. Munro’s story is a complicated but interesting structure as expressed. In the story she relates and compares different events that have a common center, but how they are related and compared unfolds in a crisp, steady, and wonderfully measured cadence.

Yes, Munro is a favorite.