Lives of Girls and Women
, a short story collection by Alice MUNRO
(1971), as the title suggests, is a narrative of female experience as gathered in the adolescence of Del Jordan. With startling honesty, it recounts her early encounters with death, the problems posed by religion, and her growing awareness of romance and sexuality. The most remarkable characteristic of the novel is its ability to recapture the past (it is set for the most part in the 1940s) with remarkable skill, to examine some of the more vulgar experiences of sexuality and transform them into humour and art. While ostensibly set in a small town in western Ontario, the novel achieves a certain level of universality by modelling itself on the genre of the artist's novel, acquiring thereby an originality in Canadian letters by portraying the artist as a young woman.