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Alice Munro, the Nobel Prize-winning Canadian novelist, has died at the age of 92

Nobel Prize-winning Canadian author Alice Munro, whose exquisite tales of love, ambition and hardship of small-town women in her native country made her an internationally recognized master of the short story, has died at the age of 92, her publisher said Tuesday.

Munro died at her home in Port Hope, Ontario, said Christine Cochrane, executive director of McClelland & Stewart.

"Alice's writing has inspired countless writers .... and her work leaves an indelible mark on our literary landscape", her statement reads.

Family members said Munroe passed away Monday after suffering from dementia for at least a decade.

Munroe has published more than a dozen short story collections and was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 2013.

Her stories set sex, longing, discontent, aging, moral conflict, and other themes in the rural settings with which she was familiar, the villages and farms of the Canadian province of Ontario. She was able to fully reveal complex characters in the limited pages of a short story.

"Alice Munro was an icon of Canadian literature. For six decades, her short stories have captured the hearts of people across Canada and around the world", Canadian Heritage Minister Pascale St. Onge said on Social Media X.

Munro, who wrote about ordinary people with clarity and realism, has often been compared to Anton Chekhov, the 19th century Russian writer known for his brilliant stories. The Swedish Academy cited this comparison in awarding her the Nobel Prize.

Calling her "a master of the modern short story", the Academy also stated: "Her texts often depict everyday but decisive events, a kind of epiphany that illuminates the surrounding story and allows existential questions to manifest themselves as lightning bolts".

In an interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation after winning the Nobel Prize, Munro said: "I think my stories have gotten a pretty significant distribution for the short story, and I really hope that this will make people see the short story as an important art form and not just something you play with until you write a novel".

Munro's works include The Dance of Happy Shadows (1968), The Lives of Girls and Women (1971), Who Do You Think You Are? (1978), The Moons of Jupiter (1982), Hate, Friendship, Courtship, Love, Marriage (2001), The Fugitive (2004), A View from Castle Rock (2006), Too Much Happiness (2009), and Dear Life (2012).

The heroines of her stories are often girls and women who lead seemingly unexceptional lives but struggle with challenges ranging from sexual abuse and stifling marriages to repressed love and the devastating effects of aging.

"Last month I reread all of Alice Munro's books. I felt the need to be closer to her. Every time I read her, it's a new experience. Each time changes me. She will live forever", Canadian author Heather O'Neil wrote in a post on the X website.

Munroe's story about a woman who begins to lose her memory and agrees to enter a nursing home, titled "The Bear Came Over the Mountain" from the book Hate, Friendship, Courtship, Love, Marriage, was adapted for the 2006 Oscar-nominated film Far From Her, directed by Canadian Sarah Polley.

Shame is the driving force behind the characters

Canadian novelist Margaret Atwood, writing after Munro won the Nobel Prize, summed up her work by saying: "Shame and embarrassment are driving forces for Munro's characters, just as perfectionism in writing was a driving force for her: to see things through to the end, to do the right thing, but also to realize the impossibility of doing so. Munro chronicles failures far more often than she chronicles successes, because failure is inherent in the writer's task".

American author Jonathan Franzen wrote in 2005, "Reading Munro puts me into a state of quiet reflection as I think about my own life: the decisions I've made, the things I've done and not done, the kind of person I am, the prospect of death".

The short story, a style more popular in the nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, has long been second to the novel in popularity and awards. But Munroe was able to infuse her short stories with a richness of plot and depth of detail usually more characteristic of full-length novels.

"For years and years I thought short stories were just practice until I had time to write a novel. Then I discovered that they were all I could do, and I accepted that. I suppose my attempt to fit so much into short stories is compensation", Munro said in a 2012 interview with the New Yorker magazine.

The second Canadian to win the Nobel Prize

Munro became the second Canadian-born writer to win the Nobel Prize in Literature, but the first with a distinctly Canadian identity. Saul Bellow, who received the prize in 1976, was born in Quebec but grew up in the American city of Chicago, Illinois, and was recognized as an American writer.

Munroe also won the International Booker Prize in 2009 and twice won Canada's most prestigious literary prize, the Giller Prize.

Alice Laidlaw was born into a hardscrabble farming family on July 10, 1931, in Wingham, a small town in southwestern Ontario where many of her stories are set.

In 1951, she married James Munroe and moved to Victoria, British Columbia, where the two of them ran a bookstore. They divorced in 1972 and had four daughters, one of whom died at a few hours old. Afterward, Munro moved back to Ontario. Her second husband, geographer Gerald Fremlin, died in April 2013.

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