This year’s PEN/O’HENRY PRIZE STORIES2010 offers an eclectic collection of wonderful writing. The series is edited by Laura Furman and this year’s judges are Junot Diaz, Paula Fox and Yiyun Li. The stories range from narratives that describe a richness of blessings to the barrenness of empty lives. Some stories offer exhilaration that turns to bleakness, while in others the turn of events is the reverse. The stories take place around the globe and throughout the United States. What they have in common is that for a short while the reader is immersed in the intimacy of a narrative that takes us into other lives and places.
It is an honor to review TOO MUCH HAPPINESS by Alice Munro, who I consider the greatest living writer of short stories in the English language. Ms. Munro is Canadian and lives in Clinton, Ontario. During her writing career she has garnered many awards including the Lannan Literary Award, the United States National Book Critics Circle Award, and the most recent 2009 Man Booker International Prize. Her stories have been published in The New Yorker, The Paris Review, the Atlantic Monthly, as well as many other literary publications. I consider her an icon.