LIVES OF GIRLS AND WOMEN
People's lives, in Jubilee as elsewhere, were dull, simple, amazing and unfathomable -- deep caves paved with kitchen linoleum." It's just these familiar and unremarkable particulars which give a very ordinary but special quality to Miss Munro's story of growing up and beyond Jubilee, a small town in Ontario, Canada. You might have lived there or in a place just like it -- going to school or church or the library or home -- home at the end of the Flats Road where Del Jordan's father raised silver foxes. The story has an ongoing continuity as different people appear, sometimes reappear: earlier on Uncle Benny and his unfortunate correspondence-bride; or Uncle Craig who died playing cards so there was the unforgettable imprimatur of his funeral (she left hers too -- biting Mary Agnes Oliphant when an attempt was made to coerce her into viewing the body); or her mother, from early poor, rural beginnings cleaning chamber pots -- certainly Del with her intelligence would go further; or their boarder Fern Dogherty and her prurient lapsed lover; or her friend Naomi who decides to get on with Real Life or sex. Throughout biological destiny versus a possible emancipation from it (her mother's hopes for her -- she will get that University scholarship) makes itself felt in all these lives of girls and women and Del is seen, with some humor, making her normal transition from fascinatedly curious about sex to "morosely submissive" and finally to passionately cooperative. . . . Miss Munro has been compared, in her favor, to Margaret Laurence and there is much in this very representational portrait of small town and domestic life to justify it. A very likable book -- a very real book -- virtues not to be underestimated or overlooked.