Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Great Wednesday Compare 2: Margaret Laurence VERSUS Alice Munro

The winner of last week's Great Wednesday Compare (Charlotte Brontë Vs. Margaret Laurence), with a final score of 9-6, was Margaret Laurence.

As I suspected, the voting for last week seemed to be based primarily on which side of the border one lived. There were some exceptions of course, and as Ripley said, it wasn't all homegrown pride that was coming into play. Most non-Canadians seem not to have any familiarity with Laurence while everyone has at least heard of the Brontës. I'm still deciding which Brontë I'll start with.

I hope having another Canadian contestant this week doesn't completely alienate my other readers, but I couldn't resist this one. For such a long time now, I've considered Atwood, Laurence, Shields and Munro the four queens of CanLit-- based more on popularity and their prolific careers than anything personal. Atwood, Shields and Laurence have all had their turns at the Wednesday Compares, I figured I might as well round out the lot.

Remember, vote simply by adding your comment below, base it on whatever merit you choose, voting does not end until Tuesday at 11:59 p.m. (May 27, 2008), and please spread the word!

Who's better?

And for an additional bit of fun, assuming Margaret Atwood, Margaret Laurence, Carol Shields, and Alice Munro are the four queens of CanLit, what would their respective roles be in a deck of cards? Would one of the Margarets be the Queen of Hearts? Who would be the Queen of Spades? I'd love to hear your casting call and why!


Remi said...

Not fair. Not fair at all. One of my favourite novelists vs. one of my favourite short story writers. Argh.

I'll tip my hat to Piper Gunn - whose surname I share - and vote for Laurence again.

Remi said...

Oops. Forgot about the suit thing. Gut reaction has Laurence for hearts, Atwood for Spades and a toss-up for the other two. Let's go clubs for Shields and Diamonds for Munro.

Anonymous said...

You stinker! I'm with remi. Not fair. How could I possibly choose between one of my favourite novelists and my favourite short story writer?

While I ponder that, I'll assign the queens their suits. That's actually quite easy.

Queen of Spades: Margaret Atwood, dark and can be a little bit b*tchy.

Queen of Diamonds: Carol Shields,financially disciplined I suspect and in person was sometimes a bit of a snob.

Queen of Clubs: Margaret Laurence, down to earth, hard working, was born and raised in Neepawa (farm country)and her Manawaka women were similarly earthy beings.

Queen of Hearts: Alice Munro, her early "coming of age" stories and novel tugged at my heart strings. Always comes across herself as a caring nurturing person.

Who's better? I'm giving the nod to Alice Munro. I've never read anything by her that I did not like and I've always recognized her voice in her writing. This was hard because I so loved Laurence's Manawaka books, but I did not care as much for her "African" novel, This Side Jordan.

Anonymous said...

once again, i haven't read any laurence but i added her to my TBR list after last week. however, i love love love munro and would probably vote for her over anyone else anyway. i'm a short story diehard!

Unknown said...

hmm, I think I'm going with Munro this time around.

I agree with Remi's suit selection too.

Anonymous said...

I'll echo the cries of "not fair". :)

I love Laurence but Munro is practically my neighbour and I know her world. So my vote goes to Alice Munro.

And I think pooker nailed the suit selection.

kookie said...

Oh sure, of your 'four queens' the two pitted against each other are the two I've never read. (I love the other two.)

I'm going to vote for Munro based on her ultra spunky hair do. So there.

Corey said...

Well, I've only read one of each, and as I loved Lives of Girls and Women and hated The Stone Angel, I gotta go with Laurence.

John Mutford said...

Hi Corey: I think you may have made a typo. Since Munro wrote Lives of Girls and Women and Laurence wrote Stone Angel, did you mean to vote for Munro?

Remi said...

I hated The Stone Angel back in high school. It's just not a book for teenagers. When I read it again in my mid-20's, I liked it a whole lot more. Still not my favourite, but a decent novel, nonetheless.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

This is a HARD one! Two of my favourites!

But Alice Munro's stories had a slightly more power over me. Munro it is.

raidergirl3 said...

I haven't read either. My list for next years Canada Book Challenge will include Alice Munro and Margaret Laurence and Carol Shields. I am not in the loop here at all.
I can't vote this week since I know neither. How embarrassing.
What kind of education did I receive?

Melwyk said...

How can you DO this??? How do I choose...hmmm. Well, I personally love The Stone Angel. But I've met Alice Munro and she is such a gorgeously nice person, plus of course a fabulous and consistently great writer...and she once bought a book in my shop. So I'll vote for Munro this time. And Pooker's suits look good to me!

Teddy Rose said...

This is just plain mean of you to do John, pitting two Canadian Icons against each other!

I moved to Canada from the U.S. about 16 years ago. I have dual citizenship. I love it here in Canada and have been trying hard to catch up on great Canadian lit!

Atwood= Spades, she writes in spades. Laurence=Hearts, because The Stone Angel captured my heart. Munro is diamonds. So I geuss that leases Clubs for Shields, but I must confess, the only Shields I attempted to read was 'Unless' and I DNF. I may try a difference Shields sometime. Does anyone here have any recomendations?

I must vote for Munro this time, but it's really not fair!