Alice Munro on Eating Spaghetti

~ “A drop of hatred in your soul will spread and discolor everything.” Alice Munroe ~

2013 Nobel prize-winning author, Alice Monroe, is best known as the writer of incredible short stories that encompass all of the themes, symbolism, characterization of novels within the confines of elegant, but clearly written short works of fiction. A Canadian author, she has written over fourteen short story anthologies and won numerous prestigious writing awards including the Man Booker and National Book award.

The focus in her stories is often on those small moments in life that can seem so ordinary, but in her deft hands become unforgettable.

The following excerpt is from her short story “Fits” published in the anthology The Progress of Love in 1985.

Peg lifted a strand of spaghetti to try it. Robert was watching her, from time to time. He would have said he was watching to see if she was in any kind of trouble, if she seemed numb, or strange, or showed a quiver, if she dropped things or made pots clatter. But in fact he was watching her just because there was no sign of such difficulty, and because he knew there wouldn’t be. She was preparing an ordinary meal, listening to the boys in her usual mildly censorious but unruffled way. The only thing more apparent than usual to Robert was her gracefulness, lightness, quickness, and ease around the kitchen.

Her tone to her sons, under its severity, seemed shockingly serene.

“Kevin, go and get some clothes on, if you want to eat at the table.”

“I can eat in my pajamas.”


“I can eat in bed.”

“Not spaghetti, you can’t.”

Munroe has posted many of her stories online. Here is a link to some of them.

OPEN CULTURE  14 Short Stories 


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